Can Kane convince Guardiola to revive Man City's interest in struggling Spurs striker?

Harry Kane Tottenham 2021-22Getty Images

Had things gone differently, Harry Kane would be wearing a blue shirt in Manchester City's Premier League clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday evening.

The England captain was at the centre of a summer-long transfer saga that ultimately ended in disappointment for both the player and the Premier League champions.

City wanted it to happen, Kane too, but Spurs held all the cards, with the striker having three years remaining on his contract, and refused to let their star leave.

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Kane had made no secret of his desire to lift trophies, having failed to collect any winner's medal in his career to date, and arrived back to pre-season training later than originally scheduled.

Guardiola also confirmed City's interest and when the clubs met on the opening day of the season, Kane was sitting in the stand with his future still uncertain.

However, 10 days later, the 28-year-old revealed he would be staying in north London and, not long after, City confirmed there would be no new attackers arriving at the club.

It now seems unbelievable but missing out on their top target was a major blow for City at the time, even if they had just won the Premier League title and reached the Champions League final.

They had spent much of last season without a No.9 because of injuries and illness to main man Sergio Aguero, and were understandably keen to bring in a proven goalscorer.

It wasn't to be, though, and, ultimately, very little changed for anyone involved since the close of the summer transfer window.

Harry Kane Tottenham Premier League 2021-22 GFXGetty/GOAL

Spurs and Kane are still struggling, while City go into Saturday's match at the Etihad nine points clear of second-placed Liverpool, and with one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals after a 5-0 victory away to Sporting CP in midweek.

"Now you can say: 'Harry Kane didn’t come and everything is going well', but at the time I didn’t know it," Guardiola told reporters on Friday.

"When we lost to Spurs and Leicester in the Community Shield, I didn’t know what would happen in the next few weeks.

"The club gave me these players, and I’m always delighted – and then it’s, 'What can we do together?'

"So, this is the point: maybe if we had a proper striker, we would play with a striker. But with the players we have, we have to adapt."

Unsurprisingly, Guardiola and City have adapted incredibly well. They are level with Liverpool for most goals in the Premier League and level with Bayern Munich for most goals in the Champions League.

Despite missing the prolific front man they wanted, nearly every member of Guardiola's stellar squad is contributing to the cause, with 18 goalscorers in total, seven of whom have netted six times or more.

For Kane, though, silverware still seems as elusive as ever, with Tottenham's Europa Conference and Carabao Cup campaigns already over, and Antonio Conte's side 27 points behind City in the Premier League.

After three consecutive defeats, even finishing in the top four will be a tough task, as the Italian manager admitted only this week.

Turning 29 before the start of next season, and the clock running down on his top-flight career, it still seems that the only way Kane can realise his domestic ambitions is to change clubs.

City still want a striker, of course, but the chances of him moving to the Etihad now are slim.

Erling Haaland Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga 2021-22 GFXGetty/GOAL

Despite Kane's age and the fact that there will only be two years left on his contract this time around, Tottenham would still demand a massive fee for him.

He would not represent good value in the long term, which is precisely why City are looking at other targets.

Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, who turns 22 in July, is a far more attractive option, particularly with a reported buyout clause of £68m ($92m).

Of course, while he is the son of former City midfielder Alfe-Inge Haaland, the club are set to face intense competition for the Norwegian sensation's services, particularly from Real Madrid.

Furthermore, City added Argentina international Julian Alvarez in the January transfer window in a £14 million ($18m) deal, but he will stay at River Plate until the summer at least.

"Julian scored three goals in his last game for River and Man City made an incredible deal because he is a player who moves really well," Guardiola enthused.

"The club is working, watching managers, keepers, full-backs, central defenders, attacking midfielders, strikers – it never stops.

"If you believe now we have a settled team and then five players say they want to leave, we have to be ready."

So, expect City to bring in another striker this summer, one signed to go straight into the starting line-up. It's just unlikely to be Kane.

Still, he'll doubtless be looking to deliver a match-winning performance this weekend to send a timely reminder of why City were so keen to sign him just six months ago.