No doubt Harry Kane and Nuno Espirito Santo have had their little chat now, so both parties are aware that Harry wants to leave and Nuno wants him to stay.
And it could perhaps then be argued that the conversation was unnecessary because the world and his wife know that already.
Kane has been dissatisfied on the record for months now and what manager wants to lose the Premier League’s top goal scorer and creator?
Harry Kane has return to Tottenham for pre-season but his move to Man City is still possible
Nuno Espirito Santo has finally got a chance to meet with the striker, who wants to leave
Even so — what the hell? How has it been left to August 9, five days before the season starts, for these men to speak about the future? Was Nuno too busy? Wouldn’t Harry pick up the telephone? Why does nobody find this a strange way for a football club to conduct business?
It’s not as if Tottenham are weary of having to make room in their trophy cabinet of late. This way of working, the delays, the stand-offs, the incessant haggling, has hampered so many campaigns. What might Tottenham have accomplished with more certainty, with well-rehearsed plans?
If Kane is going to Manchester City after weeks of brinkmanship, bidding, rejections, improved offers, claim and counter-claim, then how harmful is it that — while this has been unfolding —Danny Ings has grown tired of waiting and signed for Aston Villa.
Smart club, Villa. Did the deal for Jack Grealish but completed all their recruitment, too, so Dean Smith would have some semblance of team shape to start the season. What does Nuno have?
Spurs’ slow reactions and delayed planning are the reasons for the struggles in recent years
Pep Guardiola has already bagged Jack Grealish at Manchester City and could add Kane
Maybe Kane, maybe Lautaro Martinez of Inter Milan. Maybe both, maybe neither.
Ings could have been a great deal for Tottenham. A striker with a proven Premier League record. He does not solve the problem of replacing Kane’s assists, but he could rival him for goals — 46 in 100 games for Southampton, or one every 2.17 matches. Kane scores every 1.52 games for Tottenham, but plays in a superior team.
Who knows what Ings might have achieved with Kane’s service? He may have got near that strike rate.
Martinez would come in at more than double the price of Ings with a strike rate of one every 2.69 games for Inter.
It’s still an excellent record and he’s 23, but players from outside English football often need time to adapt — particularly those hurled in when the season is underway.
So it might have been good to talk, to see if there was a chance Kane was for turning, to reinforce the club’s stance, to set a price that gets the deal moving, to pick a way through another summer in which coherent preparation appears to be Tottenham’s last priority.
If there really is nothing left to say, why don’t they all just get on with it?
Kane would make for a superb signing at City to replace departed talisman Sergio Aguero
Messi end to Barca super status
One question remains about the proposed Super League, now dead to all but three clubs. How could anyone trust people who cannot turn a profit at Barcelona with running football? The numbers surrounding the departure of Lionel Messi are staggering, as was Barca’s recruitment policy.
Barcelona have lost every player worth keeping, and kept many of those who weren’t good enough in the first place. They have squandered reserves that would have kept rivals in profit for decades and once subject to the same financial fair play rules that were being used to keep ambitious smaller clubs down, they have imploded. How did these people presume they were entitled to run European football when they have driven a great institution off the cliff?
When Terry Venables won the league at Barcelona in 1985, it was their first domestic title since 1974, and the one before that was in 1960. Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad had won the league more recently. Lionel Messi won as many titles with Barcelona as the club itself did between 1929 and 1985.
So this was a significant club that became a global superpower due to the efforts of a handful of individuals: great players, great coaches and smart executives. It is their legacy that has been wasted by men who think they should speak for every other club and league in Europe. In reality, they shouldn’t be trusted to sell knock-off shirts along Las Ramblas.
Lionel Messi’s Barcelona exit has put the spotlight on the club’s recruitment policy
Takeover won’t fix London Stadium
The West Ham takeover bid continues — or at least the vague promises do. Now the Ferdinand brothers have been recruited to the cause.
‘Both Anton and I are really happy that PAI want to help improve the experience for fans,’ said Rio Ferdinand.
How, exactly? Are they going to ditch the London Stadium’s hated running track, and its dual purpose use for athletics? Probably not, because it’s in the contract and Philip Beard, of consortium PAI Capital, was marketing and sponsorship director at London 2012 and part of the team who brought the Olympics to London with all its legacy failings.
Maybe PAI intend reshaping the stadium, perhaps building higher banks for better sight-lines, a development that could cost tens, maybe hundreds of millions. Or maybe PAI have just done another tenancy deal with the useless, lead-footed LLDC, landlords so incompetent they still haven’t struck a naming rights agreement nine years after the Games.
Who knows, because PAI haven’t said. Not even on the Twitter account that appears to have been launched to communicate with West Ham supporters, and stir up trouble for the current owners, in lieu of an acceptable bid or public plan.
In other news, it seems Declan Rice is staying with the club as they enter Europe this season. That will come as a huge disappointment to PAI Capital ally and noted West Ham enthusiast Rio Ferdinand, who seemed very keen that he should join Manchester United.
West Ham’s London Stadium doubles up as an athletics venue with a running track
Quest for gold should never be a battle of the sexes
And the final score: men 24, women 13. That’s the number of gold medals won by British athletes, including team participation events, in Tokyo.
Why divide by gender? Who knows, the British Olympic Association started it.
Before the event began they were proudly trumpeting that more female athletes were going to the Games, as if anyone ever sat around counting.
It’s a team. It’s Team GB. But that set the tone and so it continued. Why aren’t the male track and field team doing as well as the females — quick capsule review: neither really delivered — why aren’t the men’s hockey players as good as the women and, by day six, where are our female gold medal winners (because the first nine golds went to men).
It’s ridiculous. The point of a team is to build unity. Kye Whyte, who won BMX silver, screaming Bethany Shriever home to BMX gold was one of the most uplifting sights of the Games. The mixed races were a highlight, too.
Now, more than ever, why pitch competition as if it’s a battle of the sexes as well as an international test?
Great Britain’s Bethany Shriever (front) and Kye Whyte celebrate their respective gold and silver medals in the BMX competition at the Olympic Games
Official warning to weak refs
Perhaps the third British and Irish Lions Test in South Africa will be a turning point for rugby’s rule-makers and enforcers. Water-carriers-cum-coaches such as Rassie Erasmus should be easy enough to outlaw — but what the hell has happened to the scrum feed?
Increasingly, it is a joke but even given lax modern standards those delivered by Cobus Reinach of South Africa were an affront to intelligence. They weren’t just slightly skewed but thrown directly to the second row. The otherwise excellent Mathieu Raynal did nothing, as if referees have simply given up.
Reinach even shaped to feed the ball in diagonally with not even a hint of pretence. As all scrums appear to take three minutes to set these days, and directing the throw to this extent makes them as good as uncontested between top-tier nations, what’s the point?
It is little different in other sports. We all accept that every throw or free-kick in football is taken 10 yards in advance of where it should be, and at Trent Bridge last week India’s batsmen KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant were about to adjourn the play for rain by walking off, without even consulting the umpires, until persuaded otherwise by James Anderson.
Incredibly, the officials seemed less bothered than anyone. Later, five minutes before lunch, they let Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja break for a drink. Equally, fielders now leave the play on a whim. Stamina is one of the supreme tests of elite sport, yet this removes that challenge.
It can be argued that the modern focus on health and safety makes umpires uncomfortable with any refusal of refreshment or even rest. Yet, generally in sport, there seems a reluctance to deal with the minutiae.
Yet the scrum feed is not a minor detail, nor is the position of a free-kick, and certainly that the commencement or curtailment of play is the umpire’s call should be sacrosanct. Officials must get tougher.
The Lions series highlighted how top level scrums have become uncontested affairs
Ismael’s false start at West Brom
It is not the greatest start for West Bromwich Albion manager Valerien Ismael that he fell out with forward Matheus Pereira.
The 25-year-old Brazilian was the club’s best player by some distance last season — scoring 12 goals in 34 League and Cup appearances — but his head was turned by the money on offer from Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, for whom he signed at the end of last week.
This is a significant blow to West Brom’s hopes of an immediate return to the Premier League.
The Championship is a very tight league and one player of Pereira’s calibre can be the difference.
Rooney the best Derby will get
Everyone thinks their club is special. That is why, right now, there will be Derby fans believing they can do better than Wayne Rooney. Yet Rooney’s analysis was spot on. ‘A lot of people say an experienced manager would settle the ship,’ he mused. ‘I’ll tell you right now an experienced manager would come in and walk straight back out the door.’
He’s right. A manager like Sam Allardyce would take one look at Derby’s financial disarray, their squad full of kids, and run a mile. It’s an admirable sign of his desire to succeed in management that Rooney doesn’t do this, too.
Wayne Rooney has the cards stacked against him at struggling club Derby County
Lukaku will improve Chelsea
Since Thomas Tuchel took over, Chelsea are top of the Premier League for chances created, mid-table for goals scored, and bottom half for chances converted. That is why the debate over whether Romelu Lukaku does it against the biggest clubs in the best leagues is moot. For now, Chelsea just need someone to put the ball in the net. They can work out the finer details later.
Athletes strike blow to Russia
Travesty averted. Yelena Isinbayeva will not, after all, be chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission. She lost in an election to Finnish ice hockey player Emma Terho. Good. Had Isinbayeva won, it would have been as great an affront to clean sport as Russia’s fifth place in the Olympic medal table.
Former pole vaulter Isinbayeva has been a consistent apologist for a dirty regime. She has denounced whistle- blowers, she called the ban on Russian athletes ‘a violation of human rights’ and when she was elected to the commission the news was celebrated in Moscow with Isinbayeva portrayed as someone who would consistently advance the Russian view.
The IOC already have that with president Thomas Bach so soft and accommodating towards corrupt regimes. At least the athletes appear to have seen through it.
Yelena Isinbayeva lost out in an election to be the chair of IOC Athletes’ Commission
What Olympic legacy exactly?
Sport England claim that time spent on PE in schools is declining, from 8.4 per cent of the school day in 2013 to 7.7 per cent now. Labour councillors have written to the Government claiming they are ‘failing to support our Olympic legacy’.
What Olympic legacy? Watching someone do something on television is very different from going out and doing it. Just as creating facilities for two weeks of Olympic action is very different from preserving and investing in school playing fields. One can become an elite folly unless expertly handled, the other a lasting bequest.
And Olympic sports are hard. Watching Tom Daley in Tokyo is likely to promote more of an upturn in knitting than diving, once enthusiasts discover how it feels to hit the water like that.
Young Brits left with just pipe dreams
Norton-on-Derwent in North Yorkshire has a skateboarding half pipe, one of the few outside urban centres in the north of England. It has fallen into disrepair but a group of local activists have raised the money for restoration. So far, Norton’s councillors have voted against this.
So there you have it. Ultimately, a young person can be inspired by Sky Brown or any of the other skaters seen on their Olympic screens, but without the facilities that positivity goes nowhere. And it is far easier to throw money at a young girl from Miyazaki, Japan, wrap her in the Union Jack and pretend it’s our triumph, than to invest in and support the ambitions of young Britons who wish to follow.