Harry Kane is Tottenham’s brain and heartbeat and never more important ahead of fresh contract talks

Harry Kane is Tottenham’s brain and heartbeat and never more important ahead of fresh contract talks

It has been a week to wonder about Harry Kane's future following reports of Manchester United's interest in a summer deal for the striker, followed by the news that the England captain is open to signing a new Tottenham contract - provided certain conditions are met.

Spurs are still hoping they will never have to face life without Kane until he eventually hangs up his boots, perhaps to pursue a career in NFL or a retirement on the golf course, and he provided a scarcely-needed reminder of his importance in Monday's 1-0 win over Fulham.

Kane's magnificent goal in first-half stoppage-time - a trademark low finish from the edge of the box - moved him level with Jimmy Greaves' as Spurs' all-time leading scorer on 266 and lifted the gloom around the club after a dreadful week on and off the pitch.

Kane came agonisingly close to the outright record in the second half when Bernd Leno saved his point-blank header but, obviously, it is only a matter of time before he breaks the record. Whatever he decides at the end of this season or the next, Kane's status as one of Spurs' greatest-ever players is already secured.

The record-equalling goal, which was fittingly assisted by his record-breaking partner Heung-min Son, ensured Spurs went in at the interval with a lead they barely deserved following a first half in which Marco Silva's enterprising Fulham were comfortably the better side.

As is now customary - with the exception of Thursday's inverted 4-2 defeat at Manchester City - Antonio Conte's side improved after the break but they owed another win to Kane's quality.

Rarely, if ever, has the gap between Kane and his teammates looked so gaping, and Spurs' difficult season under Conte would be a whole lot worse if the Italian was not blessed with one of the world's best centre-forwards.

His winner provided the club with some respite following defeats to Arsenal and City, and growing uncertainty off the pitch over Conte's future and the position of managing director Fabio Paratici, who has been hit with a 30-month ban from working in Italy, which could be extended to the whole of Europe.

There was no let-up in fans' anger at chairman Daniel Levy at Craven Cottage, however, with intermittent calls for the chairman to "get out of our club" from the away from the third minute.

Kane's significance to Spurs is one of the few things that everyone connected to the club can agree on at the moment, and this was his 16th League goal of the season at just over the halfway point - a number that would be generating far more appreciative noise if Erling Haaland was not threatening to smash every existing record for a single campaign.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

In order to sign a new deal, Kane will presumably want to be playing in the Champions League next season and be confident Spurs are upwardly mobile, and in a position to compete for trophies.

They moved to within five points of fourth place, albeit having played a game more than Newcastle and Manchester United, and after another game against City, on February 5, their run of fixtures is promising, which should raise hopes of another barnstorming charge into the Champions League places.

Kane cannot, however, keeping doing it alone, and the night was further evidence of Son's sharp decline this season. The South Korean setup Kane's goal with a short pass to feet but was otherwise a passenger again, ponderous on the ball and lost without it.

Son was lucky to still be on the pitch to set up Kane after overrunning the ball and catching Kenny Tete with a late, studs-up challenge, which referee Paul Tierney deemed only worthy of a yellow card.

On a more positive note, Spurs' much-maligned defence did manage to stand up to a Fulham barrage in the opening half hour and final 15 minutes, which will surely please Conte and suggests there is still life in this team yet.

Kane, though, is both Spurs' brain and heartbeat, and as the club prepares to open contract talks with its talisman next month, he has never felt more important.