Why the England captain joining the German champions could be the perfect match| SolSportHQ
Bayern Munich want bargains but they do not need bargains. The 33-time champions of Germany, the last 11 of those titles coming consecutively, need the best man available. In Harry Kane, Bayern can have confidence that they have identified him.
It is why they are prepared to break the Bundesliga transfer record to bring the England captain to Bavaria. Even as he turns 30, the hope is that Kane can make the difference in the short term and help Bayern to win the Champions League that they so crave.
Perhaps it feels perverse to suggest it given that Bayern were the top scorers in the Bundesliga yet again last season with 92 goals, but a striker is required. The attempt to shift the emphasis of attack after Robert Lewandowski’s exit was not a total success.
Speaking to Lothar Matthaus last summer, he said: “Bayern Munich have been playing for the last 10 to 15 years with the system 4-2-3-1. With Lewandowski and before that with Miroslav Klose. Always with a No 9.” Julian Nagelsmann sought to change that.
Others stepped up. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, 34, enjoyed the best scoring season of his long career. But for him to finish as Bayern’s joint-top scorer with 17 goals laid bare the difference. Lewandowski had not dipped below 40 in the previous seven seasons.
Nagelsmann fiddled, losing some fluency and his job with it in March. Thomas Tuchel immediately returned to 4-2-3-1 in his first game, a handsome win over Borussia Dortmund, but the manner in which they stuttered to the title highlighted ongoing shortcomings.
For all the talent at Bayern, the squad boasts no finisher as reliable as Kane. In 2021, Tuchel’s Chelsea had been tentatively linked with a move that proved far too difficult to pull off, but he did speak about the interest in the striker and was emphatic in his praise.
“If you find any coach around the world who would not like to have Harry Kane in his team, call me again,” said Tuchel at the time. “I would like to speak with the guy and hear about his ideas of scoring and attacking. Of course, everybody loves Kane.”
Even in a Premier League season in which Erling Haaland rewrote expectations, Kane finished only six goals shy of a man playing in a far superior team. His total of 30 matched his best ever season in the competition. It has become familiar, but Kane remains brilliant.
Indeed, the more striking statistical difference between Haaland and Kane is that the latter contributes as a creative presence in possession too. Tuchel has praised that ability to drop into pockets of space and to help spring the Tottenham counterattack.
Kane ranked among the top 10 players in the Premier League last season for chances created from open play, clear-cut chances created, through-balls, flick-ons and layoffs. His famous partnership with Heung-Min Son is proof that he supplies as well as scores.
There is no shortage of runners waiting for him at Bayern. Jamal Musiala and Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane and Kingsley Coman. All could benefit from the presence of an attacking pivot capable of knitting attacks and delivering that pass that breaks through the lines.
Kane’s breadth of skills is such that Tuchel could use him to facilitate that counter-attacking game, but also utilise his penalty-box presence when Bayern are dominating. This is a player who has just broken the record for headed goals in a Premier League season.
The quality around him represents an opportunity for Kane to elevate his own game too. It is not just about numbers, but prestige. The game has changed since then England captain Kevin Keegan moved to the Bundesliga in 1977, however, he remains an example of that.
Keegan was already a European Cup winner with Liverpool, but it was at Hamburg that he won two consecutive Ballons d’Or. Playing abroad still helps. It is 30 years since a winner of that individual gong played out their entire career in just one European league.
While it is difficult to imagine Kane’s reputation in England rising much higher, his modest Champions League goal tally of 21 puts him below peers such as Alvaro Morata, Edin Dzeko and Olivier Giroud on that particular list. Haaland, seven years his junior, already has 35.
Bayern are betting on Kane being invigorated by the opportunity to leave the seventh favourites for the Premier League title to join the second favourites for the Champions League trophy. Winning it would certainly put his career in a different context.
Kane’s professionalism has long been lauded and that single-minded determination lends itself to longevity. As well as a high-class asset, it is possible that he could be a sellable one for Bayern even after several years of service. It is one of many factors at play.
Moving into the final year of his contract, is there a temptation for both parties to wait? For Bayern, Kane is needed at the back end of the season and a deal could be revisited in January. For Kane, the lure of Alan Shearer’s Premier League scoring record now looms.
But for all the complications, two truths remain.
Kane could help Bayern. And Bayern could help Kane.