Harry Kane will insist on joining Jack Grealish in Manchester City move with crunch talks at Tottenham next week

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Harry Kane - PA
Harry Kane - PA

Harry Kane will hold talks with Tottenham next week and insist he wants to join Jack Grealish by signing for Manchester City.

Grealish has moved closer to a Premier League record £100 million move to the Etihad Stadium after Villa agreed a £30m deal for Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey to replace their captain in Dean Smith’s attack.

Kane would like to follow his England team-mate in moving to the Etihad Stadium and is due back to Spurs’ training ground at Bulls Cross on Monday for Covid-19 testing before he starts pre-season work after an extended break following the European Championship.

The England captain, who turned 28 last week, wants talks with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy on his return to the club and will reinforce his determination to move in search of the biggest trophies in domestic football.

He stated City as a preferred destination during an interview with Gary Neville before the Euros, highlighting the prospect of playing with Kevin De Bruyne, who has created more goals than any Premier League player in the past two seasons.

Levy wants to keep Kane at the club and does not want to sell a player with three seasons left on his contract, although City remain interested in him succeeding Sergio Aguero as Pep Guardiola’s main striker.

They are carefully watching his situation at Spurs, where he could miss the start of the season following an extended summer when he reached the final of the Euros in Gareth Southgate’s squad.

Grealish’s deal looks closer to getting completed following Friday’s record-breaking bid which was revealed by Telegraph Sport. The 25 year-old is waiting for the green light from his club to negotiate personal terms with City.

Bailey, 23, is an exciting prospect from the Bundesliga which will soften the blow of losing the club’s talisman. The Jamaica forward still needs to finalise personal terms and pass a medical but the clubs agreeing a fee is huge progress in the deal.

Leon Bailey in action for Jamaica - AP
Leon Bailey in action for Jamaica - AP

He will be Villa’s second-biggest signing behind Emi Buendia, who arrived from Norwich City earlier in the summer to add to Smith’s attacking options.

Bailey has been a Bundesliga regular for four seasons after starting his career in Belgium with Genk. Last season his 15 goals was his best return at Leverkusen and sparked interest from Premier League clubs.

Villa have interest in other players this summer and made bids for Emile Smith Rowe before he signed a new contract at Arsenal. Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, who was on loan at Villa Park three seasons ago, has been on their radar along with Burnley winger Dwight McNeil.

Kane was not involved in an open training at Spurs’ stadium on Saturday as Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad practised in front of fans. He has been granted extra holiday to recover from reaching the latter stages of the Euros, along with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg who he faced in the semi-finals when England beat Denmark.

His interview with Neville put pressure on Levy when he suggested his value would decrease in coming transfer windows if an offer was not accepted for him to join City this summer.

Kane also used the figure of £100m as a fee that Levy could listen to. City, however, would have to break the British transfer record again for Kane after bidding that amount for Grealish.

Levy took out a £175m Government loan from the Covid Corporate Financing Facility to cover the impact of the coronavirus pandemic closing sport’s door to fans, which saw the club’s new stadium with empty seats and a huge reduction in income. Levy feared losing £200m as a result of the Covid-19 impacting sport, but is still determined to keep Kane despite the fee he would raise.

What is Grealish's best starting position?

To put himself in contention to become the Premier League’s most expensive incoming transfer, Grealish played the majority of his matches on the left flank for Aston Villa last season, where all of their attacking would pass through his feet. From that starting position, Grealish could carry the ball inside and influence games with his fearless dribbling. The number of times he would look to take on players is what caught the eye of Guardiola when Aston Villa returned to the Premier League two seasons ago.

“They have one of the best players in the league in Jack Grealish. I’m a big fan of him,” said Guardiola, after Villa had set up an EFL Cup final with Manchester City. Guardiola takes a keen interest in how talented young players are developing, which is why he spoke animatedly with Southampton’s Nathan Redmond.

In Grealish he saw a player who could influence games as a wide forward or as a No 8, in the way De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan have done for him so successfully. Grealish has not been seen in a deep role for Villa, but is expected to pop up in central midfield in City’s fluid system.

Who will miss out for City?

City are expected to sanction at least one departure of a first-team player this summer to balance the spending that will bring in Grealish for at least £100 million.

At the moment, Bernardo Silva looks the most likely departure. Clubs in Europe have been on alert this summer to the Portugal midfielder being available for the right price. It has been widely reported that he could look for a new challenge after four years at the Etihad Stadium.

Grealish’s position on the left would automatically put Raheem Sterling’s place in the spotlight, although the England forward’s dazzling summer at the Euros has made it easy to forget that he was not an automatic starter at the back end of last season.

Sterling was dropped after the Manchester derby in March and did not start consecutive Premier League matches until the title was won. Phil Foden is also used on the left flank, but made just four Premier League starts in the last three months of the season, half of them after the title was won.

Would Kane arriving help?

City will remain in the market for Kane during the remainder of the transfer window and have one eye on his return to Tottenham’s squad following his holiday after the Euros.

With Sergio Aguero leaving, Kane is seen as the first-choice successor to City’s greatest goalscorer. Having an out-and-out striker would give Guardiola a bigger threat in attack than his team posed in their Champions League final defeat. Should Daniel Levy make it as difficult for Kane to leave as expected, Guardiola could utilise his existing attacking players as “false nines”.

Even Grealish, who did not play as a central forward last season, is capable of playing that role. Sterling and Foden would be candidates to lead City’s attack, as would Ferran Torres, who started as a centre-forward four times last season as Aguero was sidelined. For England, Kane dropping into a No 10 role did not help Grealish as they occupied the same space, so Kane would need to be disciplined enough to focus on penalty-box finishing.

Winning free-kicks?

Grealish shows mental resilience to continue running at opponents despite being the most fouled player per game in the Premier League last season. It led to a shin injury at the back end of the campaign and a race to be fit for the Euros. Even in the warm-up matches for the tournament, he thought heavy challenges against Austria could rule him out of playing on the biggest stage.

“I have what I’d like to say is a quality of riding challenges. Even though I get fouled and go down, I ride them quite well,” he said.

The number of free-kicks he wins should help City’s direct free-kick takers, chiefly De Bruyne. Winning them in wide areas should also benefit Ruben Dias, who looked likely to get on the end of set-pieces during his rookie campaign in the Premier League.