Skip to main content

What if... Manchester City had signed Harry Kane?

Harry Kane Man City
(Image credit: Getty)

Harry Kane is heading to the Etihad today and might well be wondering what life would be like had Tottenham accepted one of the many bids Manchester City made for him over the summer.

And with Manchester City racing towards the Premier League title and Tottenham on a run of three-straight defeats and scrapping to make it into the top-four, there might well be a tinge of regret when Kane steps on to the Etihad turf.

So, FourFourTwo decided to imagine what the English football landscape might look like had City got their man...

Kane signs for City for a Premier League record fee

Days after England's agonising penalty shootout loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final, Man City table a £100 million bid for Kane.

After a bit of back and forth on the phone between Daniel Levy and Txiki Begiristain and some bargaining on either side, the Tottenham chairman finally accepts an offer of £110 million.

Kane gives a teary video to Tottenham's official media about how the club made him who he is but ultimately the time has come to say goodbye. He is driven straight to Etihad Campus to finalise the deal.

Grealish heads to Manchester United

City are delighted to have gotten their man but, careful not to break financial fair play rules, they abandon plans to sign Jack Grealish.

Grealish, however, is still desperate to play Champions League football and heads to Manchester United, who he nearly joined a year before.

Man United are buzzing about signing England's next big star and comparisons with Wayne Rooney's 2004 move to Old Trafford are rife in the media.

However, the club have spent most of their transfer budget to get Grealish and have to rip up their two-year plot to sign Jadon Sancho.

Jorge Mendes then calls up Ed Woodward offering United Cristiano Ronaldo. The vice chairman can't believe his bad luck and has to turn down the prospect of the Portuguese returning, which he has craved for years. But at least he has Jack.

Tottenham meanwhile are awash with cash and set about bolstering their squad in all areas. They raid Nuno Espirito's former club Wolves, signing Conor Coady, Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez.

Kane wins the Community Shield but the goals dry up

Kane gets his hands on his first piece of silverware in his City debut, scoring twice in the Community Shield win over Leicester. Pundits are already saying he can be as iconic for the club as Sergio Aguero.

But his first Premier League game, away to Tottenham, goes badly. He is subjected to a cacophony of boos and whistles. Spurs, bolstered by their new signings, win the game 2-0, with Kane struggling to find space, stifled by Coady.

Kane does not score his first league goal for City until netting against Southampton in September. 

Meanwhile, at Old Trafford, Grealish works up a sensational understanding with Bruno Fernandes in a comfortable win against Leeds United in Man United's first game of the campaign.

It's November and things aren't going well for City

City have had to change the way they play to accommodate Kane, and Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva are complaining that they can't express themselves as they used to. 

Kane, meanwhile, has spent his career being the main man and doesn't feel as special as he used to. Kevin De Bruyne is also put out at being taken off penalty and free kick duties.

On the other side of the city, meanwhile, Grealish is thriving under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who gives him the freedom he needs.

United fans have a chant for their new hero, comparing him to Dwight Yorke due to his love for nightlife and the smile he plays with.

'Jack The Lad' banners are unfurled at Old Trafford for the Manchester Derby and Grealish scores a 30-yard screamer in a 1-0 win for Soskjaer's side. Kane, meanwhile, is isolated as City dominate possession but can't get the ball to their big money signing. 

Man United climb just above City into second, breathing down the necks of leaders Liverpool.

19 February 2022: Kane and Spurs meet again

City's game with Tottenham today at the Eithad is being dubbed a make-or-break match for both side's top-four ambitions, with the title very much a two-horse race between Grealish's United and Liverpool. Chelsea are nailed on to finish third.

Spurs fans on the train up to Manchester Piccadilly are chanting 'Harry Kane, we're glad you are gone' and are excited about the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool later this month.

In the Sky Sports studio before kick off, Jamie Carragher is praising the work Nuno has done with Tottenham's defence, with the Portuguese silencing the initial doubters who felt the club's legacy of entertainers under Bill Nicholson was at stake.

Roy Keane, meanwhile, is tearing into Kane for abandoning his boyhood club in pursuit of trophies, with City teetering on Champions League elimination to Sporting Lisbon and out of the FA Cup too.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Richard Martin is an experienced football writer, editor and social media producer. Before returning to London, he spent 10 years in Spain as a football correspondent and has attended over 600 games across 16 countries, his favourite being Argentina. He has also worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Times and AS.