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Wantaway Tottenham star Harry Kane “is in love with LaLiga” but faces the prospect of earning less money at Real Madrid or Barcelona than he would elsewhere, according to Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.
Kane is intent on leaving Tottenham this summer following a disappointing season for the club, with Spurs missing out on Champions League qualification and failing to win any silverware after their Carabao Cup Final defeat to Manchester City. The 27-year-old has ejoyed a prolific campaign personally as he sits joint-top in the Premier League Golden Boot race, but individual awards are no longer enough for him in north London.
English rivals Manchester United, Man City and Chelsea have all made their interest clear to Kane’s representatives, though Daniel Levy would see selling Kane to a domestic rival as a bitter pill for Spurs to swallow.
The only other clubs likely to be able to afford Kane’s £100 million-plus asking price are Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and Real Madrid - though PSG may be more intent on tying down Kylian Mbappe to a new contract after recently sealing an extension for Neymar.
Kane appeared to say goodbye to Spurs fans following Wednesday's 2-1 home defeat to Aston Villa, and the England striker believes he has a gentleman's agreement with Levy which will allow him to leave this summer.
Kane effectively confirmed his intentions to Gary Neville this week by saying a decision on his future “will ultimately be down to me”, and he intends to have a "conversation" with the club about his plans.
While United, City and Chelsea will be able to offer Kane huge wages given the financial might of the Premier League, Spanish giants Barca and Real are both facing financial pressure following the impact of the pandemic.
The immediate aim for new Barca president Joan Laporta is to convince Lionel Messi to stay at Camp Nou, while Real chief Florentino Perez may be wary of signing another top forward from England after Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard's respective falls from grace in the Spanish capital.
However, LaLigaTV pundit Balague told Standard Sport that the Clasico rivals may have an advantage given Kane's admiration of LaLiga, and could be in the running as long as the forward’s primary motive for a move is not money.
"I think Javier Tebas, the president of LaLiga, said already that we shouldn't expect massive signings,” Balague said ahead of the final weekend of the Spanish season, which will see LaLigaTV adopt a multigoal broadcast format akin to NFL’s ‘RedZone’ to bring fans all the drama on matchday 38.
"I know from Harry, I've spoken to him a few times about this, I think he would love to play in LaLiga. He's one of those players, at his age, he started watching LaLiga when LaLiga started being a big product in the UK.
"I think he is in love with it. Quite clearly when you are right at the top, or perhaps there is one more step to make, you want to stay there, and Real Madrid and Barcelona would be obviously the places he will like to join.
"There is no way that Barcelona or Real Madrid can compete with transfers or with wages, there's no way they can compete with that; they can compete with so many other things if it wasn't about money.
"If you actually say to Harry Kane: 'Do you want a pass from [Kazim] Benzema?' or 'Do you a pass from [Lionel] Messi?'... obviously Benzema is staying next season, [with] Messi it looks like Laporta is doing a huge effort, and that goes back to finances, to actually concentrate all of the finances on keeping Messi - and he's got to answer that, because that's the crucial moment of his career.
"From here, wherever he goes, he's going to stay there for the main body of his last few years. So if there is somebody that has got the persuasion powers, or two people that have got persuasion powers that could attract somebody like that, that's Florentino Perez and Joan Laporta.
"They're like magnets, they hypnotise you, don't they... Florentino has done it so many times, and so has Joan Laporta, going from convincing Pep Guardiola to become the coach on an evening where they drank a lot of wine, and Guardiola said: 'You won't have the bravery to do that'... but he did!
"I think Joan Laporta would like to have a big signing if possible, finances aside again... and Florentino Perez with the handkerchief he handed to [Zinedine] Zidane [saying]: 'You have to come to Real Madrid'; that's how he got him.
"It's a decision by Harry Kane. He will have much more money somewhere else, but perhaps he's got that little dream of joining one of those two sides."