England captain Harry Kane has left Tottenham behind. Now he’s chasing trophies at Bayern Munich.
The fee for Kane could hit more than 100 million pounds ($110 million), which breaks the Bundesliga transfer record and is a huge sum for a player who would have been out of contract next year.
After 19 years at Tottenham and no trophies, Kane is almost assured of winning something at Bayern, the German league champion 11 years running. Bayern is also a Champions League contender. Tottenham isn’t playing in Europe at all this season.
“Buzzing to have signed for such a massive club with an incredible history, can’t wait to get started!” Kane wrote on his social media channels.
The 30-year-old Kane had the chance to lift a trophy — though hardly a major one — on his first day at Bayern when he came off the bench in Saturday’s German Super Cup season-opener against Leipzig. Bayern lost the game 3-0.
After months of negotiations over Kane came 24 hours of the transfer as public theater.
First there was Kane’s delayed departure from England on Friday amid conflicting reports over whether he had Spurs’ permission to fly to Germany, then a private jet flight tracked by tens of thousands of fans online.
Bayern sent a bright red car to collect Kane, who was tracked by fans filming him through the glass stairwell of the clinic where he took medical tests, while supporters waited late into the night outside club headquarters. Official confirmation of a four-year contract followed Saturday morning.
Kane left open the possibility of one day returning to Tottenham in a farewell message that was “not a goodbye because you never know how things pan out in the future.” Still, he seemed to acknowledge that joining Bayern was a step up and that the team where he spent 19 years is no longer among Europe’s best.
“I think FC Bayern Munich is one of the biggest clubs in the world and I’ve always said throughout my career I want to keep improving and keep pushing myself to be the very best,” he said in a video released by Bayern. “And I felt like it was the right step in my career to really push myself and test myself on the highest level.”
Tottenham challenged for Premier League titles in the mid-2010s under Mauricio Pochettino and reached the Champions League final in 2019 — still the closest Kane has come to a major prize.
Pochettino was fired as manager in November 2019 and since then Spurs has seen the acrimonious reigns of Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, either side of a disastrous four-month spell with Nuno Espirito Santo. Kane’s departure leaves new manager Ange Postecoglou to oversee a rebuild as Tottenham’s board faces criticism from fans.
Kane’s departure is a “clear and painful indictment of the on-field development of the Club over the last four years,” the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust said. “If this Board doesn’t share the ambition of one of our greatest players, then how can fans feel reassured in the direction of this football club?”
At Tottenham, Kane became the second highest-scoring player in Premier League history — with 213 goals, 47 behind Alan Shearer.
The reported fee for Kane breaks the Bundesliga transfer record set when Bayern signed French defender Lucas Hernández from Atletico Madrid in 2019.
Bayern president Herbert Hainer said Kane would be a “real asset to the entire Bundesliga.”
“We’re very happy about this top-quality new arrival,” Hainer said. “The transfer required tenacity, bite and perseverance — my compliments to all those involved in these negotiations at FC Bayern.”
Bayern won an 11th consecutive Bundesliga title last season, but only on goal difference ahead of Borussia Dortmund after a turbulent season which saw conflict within the squad and the surprise firing of coach Julian Nagelsmann. The close title race was widely seen as rekindling international interest in the German league even as Bayern’s title streak continued.
Kane will give a central focus in attack to a Bayern team that has struggled to adapt since selling Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona a year ago. Bayern hailed Kane as “England’s goal machine” and a “full-blooded striker.”
The German champion still has some gaps in the squad, with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer injured since December and Tuchel keen to have a defensive midfielder.
Kane’s arrival marks a symbolic moment for the Bundesliga, which lost famous names when Lewandowski left and Dortmund sold Erling Haaland to Manchester City last year, and in June when Kane’s England teammate Jude Bellingham left Dortmund for Real Madrid.
As for Tottenham, Kane’s departure leaves a hole in the squad ahead of its first game of the new Premier League season, against Brentford on Sunday. Postecoglou said Friday he had been preparing for a rebuild and that Kane’s imminent departure “at least gives us some clarity.”
Kane scored 30 Premier League goals for Tottenham last season. No other player in the team scored more than 10.
Kane has repeatedly been linked with moves to leading clubs in the Premier League and Europe, but Tottenham had always resisted attempts to lure him away, largely because he was tied to a six-year contract, which was signed in 2018.
In 2021, Tottenham blocked interest from Manchester City, despite Kane indicating he was ready to leave. But with Kane set to become a free agent at the end of the season, and Tottenham missing out on lucrative European competitions this season, Spurs risked losing him for nothing next summer.
Ellingworth reported from Duesseldorf, Germany. AP Sports Writer Steve Douglas in Sundsvall, Sweden, contributed to this story.
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