MAnchester City pushed hard To sign Harry Kane last year. After Sergio Aguero’s departure to Barcelona, City wanted a new striker to fill the void in the front line. But Tottenham did not budge from their demand that City pay £150m for the England captain. Kane wanted to go, but City did not accept his offer and stayed at Tottenham. The lack of a natural striker did not hinder City, who held the Premier League title last season while scoring more goals (99) than any other team in Europe’s top five leagues.
So, of course City came out and signed Erling Haaland goal machine From Borussia Dortmund this summer. The Norwegian wasted no time adjusting to the demands of the Premier League. In nine matches, Haaland has scored 15 league goals – more than Manchester United, Chelsea and 11 other teams in the Premier League. Since the start of last season, only Kevin De Bruyne (16) has scored more goals in the league for City.
City’s failure to sign Kane was a slipping moment for both strikers. Fast forward a year and Tottenham are now chasing Haaland in the race for the Golden Boot. There has been a lot of focus on the 22-year-old and deservedly so given his impressive start to the season, but his goals mean Kane’s performances this season have gone under the radar.
His shot in the first half Tottenham’s 1-0 win over Brighton on Saturday night It was his eighth goal in nine league games this season. Kane has scored in his last four league games – the longest joint streak of his career in the Premier League. His goal against Brighton was his 191st in the Premier League. He overtook Aguero (184) and Andy Cole (187) this season on the list of all-time top scorers in the Premier League, and now only Wayne Rooney (208) and Alan Shearer (260) are left to win.
What is commendable is that Kane has scored eight goals this season despite not really achieving the heights of previous campaigns. In recent years, Spurs have tended to start slowly before building momentum around November in time for the grueling holiday period. The fact that Tottenham are third in the table because they haven’t played really well, save for certain periods of comfortable victories over Southampton and Leicester, is indicative of the winning mentality that Antonio Conte has instilled. Being four points off the lead despite not realizing their full potential shows their newfound resolve.
This is perhaps best illustrated by Kane’s goal record at this point in the campaign. He wasn’t as poor as Son Heung-min, but even Kane wasn’t at his best in the early weeks of the season – and yet he’s Haaland’s closest contender for the Golden Boot. City play fantastic football, Haaland scores plenty of goals – if he continues at his current rate the Norwegian would break Dixie Dean’s record of 60 goals in a single Premier League season – but Kane’s numbers remain impressive. He’s scoring a goal every 100 minutes this season while playing for a Spurs squad that seems stuck at second gear.
His weekend winner was a case in point. Conte’s side had to fight against Brighton to take all three points and become the first away team to win at the AMEX since… Tottenham won the AMEX in March. Kane’s innate ending was enough to separate the two sides. The versatility of the finishing touch means that even when Spurs play poorly, Kane can still conjure a moment of magic that makes the difference between one and three points. Kane has only been given nine net chances this season and has scored seven of them. Given his previous sluggish starts and the timing of this year’s World Cup, Gareth Southgate should be happy.
Kane’s goal-scoring is so consistent that it has become a normalcy and has even gone under the radar. He’s scored no fewer than 15 goals in each of his last eight league campaigns, and he’s halfway to reaching that milestone again this season. With the spotlight now firmly on Haaland, Kane is quietly creeping into the scoring lists. Whether playing up front alone or with a partner – as he did against Brighton in 3-5-2 – Kane is guaranteed goals, and with the pressure currently in place, chances are he will remain Haaland’s closest threat to the Golden Boot.