Why didn't Manchester City sign Harry Kane?

Harry Kane
(Image credit: PA)

Harry Kane's transfer to Manchester City was going to be the blockbuster move of the 2021 summer window.

As Tottenham searched for a new manager, captain Kane made clear his intention to leave Spurs and win trophies elsewhere, with a £160m link with City mooted.

There were even reports that the striker had gone on strike, and was refusing to train, as relations with his club deteriorated – though he vehemently denied these stories.

In a public statement just weeks after the Euro 2020 final, Kane said: "While I won't go into the specifics of the situation, I want to clarify that I would never, and have never, refused to train."

But though there were claims the transfer was essentially a done deal – with the England captain set to scoop up a £400,000-a-week contract – the move never materialised.

Instead, Kane stayed at Spurs, and his Three Lions team-mate Jack Grealish became the most expensive English player of all time with a £100m move to... Manchester City.

So what happened?

Well, according to Pep Guardiola, Spurs simply weren't interested in discussing a move, as much as Man City worked to make it happen

"The club [Manchester City] did absolutely everything," Guardiola said in August, after it became clear no move was happening. "We didn’t talk about Tottenham, not even one offer, because they didn’t want to negotiate and when [only] one team wants to negotiate, there is nothing to say.

"It is understandable. Tottenham didn’t want to talk so we didn’t talk. The moment they open the door, maybe we will see. Maybe they say we want £200m, we will not pay £200m for one reason: because we don’t have it.

"So we tried to open the door to negotiate but the big master of the big negotiation Daniel Levy knows everything, and he would not do it.

"Maybe I would do the same if I had Harry Kane in my team but he is a Tottenham Hotspur player. I wish him all the best for the rest of his career and doing well in London."

That hasn't killed transfer talk surrounding Kane, though. While he is apparently happy to remain at Tottenham under Antonio Conte, there are also stories claiming that Mauricio Pochettino would be keen to reunite with him if he takes up the reins at Manchester United at the end of the season. The saga may not be over yet...

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Conor Pope
Online Editor

Conor Pope is the former Online Editor of FourFourTwo, overseeing all digital content. He plays football regularly, and has a large, discerning and ever-growing collection of football shirts from around the world.

He supports Blackburn Rovers and holds a season ticket with south London non-league side Dulwich Hamlet. His main football passions include Tugay, the San Siro and only using a winter ball when it snows.