Manchester City are poised for a final move to sign Harry Kane this week, as the Tottenham forward made his first appearance of the season.
Kane was introduced as a late substitute in Tottenham’s victory at Wolves, with his future remaining uncertain ahead of the transfer deadline on August 31.
Premier League champions City are set to table another bid for the England international this week, though Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is determined to avoid selling the talismanic forward.
Kane was given a warm reception by the travelling supporters, who chanted “he’s one of our own” before he appeared as a 72nd minute substitute.
He had missed the matches against City and Pacos De Ferreira and head coach Nuno Espirito Santo was unable to offer any guarantees that Kane would face the Portuguese club in the Europa Conference League play-off second leg.
“Harry helped the team. We are talking about one of the best players in the world and we are very lucky to have him,” he said. “It’s too soon to know if he will be involved on Thursday. Now I cannot answer that.
“He is getting back to his fitness and he still has to improve. You could see the way he helped the team in terms of possession and the fine lines. We need everybody.”
Tottenham are targeting signings of their own before the deadline, with Wolves winger Adama Traore understood to be high on Nuno’s list. Negotiations over a new Wolves contract for the Spain international have yet to be resolved and Tottenham are considering a £40 million offer.
Harry Kane makes cameo in Tottenham’s narrow win against Wolves
By John Percy
The uncertainty around Harry Kane will continue to swirl for another nine days, but there remains little doubt that Tottenham supporters cannot envisage a future without him.
Kane was introduced 18 minutes from time at Molineux, in his first appearance of the season, and given a heroic reception by the travelling fans despite the forward’s determination to join Manchester City.
It was Nuno Espirito Santo’s first return to Wolves since his departure in May, with Tottenham securing a scarcely deserved victory after Dele Alli’s first goal since March 2020, but it was the appearance of Kane that will dominate the thoughts.
For 72 minutes there was a chilling vision of how Spurs would look without their talisman, with Son Heung-min enduring an afternoon of frustration in attack.
Kane was on the Tottenham bench for the first time since December 2018, after missing the two games against Manchester City and Pacos De Ferreira. With England manager Gareth Southgate in attendance, he was sorely missed.
Wolves were dominant for long periods under their new head coach Bruno Lage, but ultimately toothless, though Tottenham were still fortunate to depart the Black Country with their second successive league win of the campaign.
If there were any fears over Kane being subjected to hostility from Tottenham’s fans, they disappeared here. He was also given a warm ovation at the final whistle as he went to applaud them.
Manchester City remain determined to strike a deal for the England international, while Kane is also keen to pursue a move to the champions. Tottenham are refusing to sell but on this evidence his legacy with fans will be untarnished if he does move before August 31.
They were ahead with their first threatening moment on goal and it ultimately proved decisive.
Alli was released into the penalty area by Sergio Reguilon and upended by Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa. With Kane on the bench, Alli was given spot-kick duties and his delivery into the corner was clinical.
Nuno said: “Dele did a very good job and he worked very hard.
“He scored in the beginning of the game and in the last minutes of the game he was running all over the pitch so that shows the level of fitness that he has and the belief that he has. A huge, huge help.
“All the team worked very hard. You know that it was not the best of our games but when you cannot play as good as you want you need to do your tasks well and the boys did amazing.”
Lage, meanwhile, will be wondering how he has started life in English football with no points.
Wolves were full of verve and vigour here, responding well after going behind with their attacking intent hinting at the approach Lage will be taking since his appointment.
Adama Traore was devastating on the left wing, tormenting right-back Japhet Tanganga who had performed so admirably against Manchester City the previous weekend.
Traore is a target for Tottenham before the deadline and if he could finish even bigger clubs would be queuing up to sign him, wasting a glorious second-half chance when he had only Hugo Lloris to beat.
Lage said: “This is the way we want to play and the game stayed in our hands for 90 minutes.
“We had 25 attempts to score one goal but I challenge the players to play this way. The most important thing to score goals.
“I believe in my work and the players believed in me from the first day. We are confident with the process and we will continue to grow up as a team.”
There was also a return for Raul Jimenez, the Wolves forward making his first home appearance in nine months after sustaining a fractured skull.
Without Kane, Tottenham were devoid of threat going forward. Son was isolated and having one of those incredibly rare afternoons where he was ineffectual.
After 70 minutes the away fans chanted for Kane’s name and he was finally introduced to rapturous applause.
Kane was a menace in his brief cameo, forcing a save from Sa after advancing into the area, sparking the visitors into some life.
Wolves finished strongly but could not find the crucial equaliser, with Nuno completing a satisfactory return to the club he served for four years.
A perfect start for Tottenham, but you get the sense there is more to come with the Kane saga.