With the domestic campaign for most sides across Europe now finished, attention will soon switch to the transfer window.
For Manchester United, they’ve still got one more huge game to play this season as they take on Villarreal in the Europa League final.
This big event will be the key focus for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his team across the coming days, yet behind the scenes, it’s likely that the recruitment staff are already laying the foundations to make moves for their key targets this summer.
One of the players they’re expected to pursue in the coming months is Tottenham forward Harry Kane.
Spurs are reluctant to let the 27-year-old leave, especially given he has three years left on his current deal. As a result, his signature wouldn’t come cheap, yet United are sure to see him as a player worth the outlay given the impact he could have on their attack should he arrive.
Kane is fresh off securing his third golden boot after his goal in Sunday’s 4-2 win away at Leicester City took his league tally for the season to 23.
He also landed the playmaker award, given to the player with the most assists, after registering a total of 14. And it’s this adaptation from not only goalscorer to a creator of goals as well that has brought another dimension to his game this season.
In terms of direct league goal contributions, prior to this season, Kane’s best total came in the 2016/17 season when he either scored or assisted a total of 34.
Impressively as highlighted above, he’s directly contributed to three more than that in this campaign.
A key reason behind his success in this department was down to the way in which he worked under former United boss Jose Mourinho to develop his playing style.
Rather than focussing solely on finishing moves by remaining in advanced areas and playing on the last line of the opposition’s defence, he’s instead this season tended to drop into deeper spaces on the pitch, picking up the ball in between the lines and almost acting as the team’s advanced playmaker.
You can see in the below heatmap from this season that Kane has been just as prominent in areas where you’d traditionally expect to see a No.10 as he has in more advanced areas closer to the opposition’s box.
Obviously, when Kane drops deeper, players around him are required to rotate and drive forward in his place so Spurs still have that penetrative threat in attack, and this is where the likes of Son Heung-min reap the benefits.
At United, there are players with similar profiles to Son such as Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood. Obviously, these players are not carbon copies stylistically of the South Korean, but they’re excellent attackers who can drive at pace into the penalty area and latch onto the end of passes or crosses into the box.
They, along with Edinson Cavani, could be key beneficiaries of the England captain’s potential arrival at Old Trafford.
Bruno Fernandes carries the bulk of the creative burden at United right now, yet if Kane joined the club and operated in this hybrid forward role, some of that burden would be alleviated.
On top of this though, it’s still important to remember that the 27-year-old is an elite level finisher, and his goals could well be key in United making a legitimate push for the Premier League title next season.