Erik ten Hag has talked up Harry Kane’s qualities ahead of Manchester United’s meeting with Tottenham Hotspur but has refused to get involved in talk that the England striker could move to Old Trafford in the summer.
United are looking for a striker ahead of the transfer window and Kane is nearing the final year of his contract at Spurs.
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The 29-year-old and Napoli striker Victor Osimhen are on Ten Hag’s radar but asked whether Kane would fit into his team, the Dutchman remained tight-lipped.
“I am preparing my team for a game against Spurs,” Ten Hag told a news conference on Wednesday ahead of the trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. “He is one of the players that we have to face from Spurs, so I don’t think about anything else.”
Ten Hag did, however, admit he’s a fan of Kane, who has scored 24 goals in the Premier League this season.
He added: “The number of goals, and also his key actions [that] come to a goal, final passes as well, he is just a great player, great personality as well.”
Sources have told ESPN that signing a top-level striker is United’s priority this summer, although there is some reluctance at Old Trafford to enter into negotiations with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.
Ten Hag ideally wants to have any new additions signed up before the preseason tour of the U.S., which begins in July, and there is a fear that Levy may want to start a bidding war for Kane, who also has interest from Bayern Munich, and could prolong any deal until the end of the window.
“I think we need to strengthen the team and more positions, also the depth in the squad,” said Ten Hag.
“But don’t think about that in this moment. It’s not about that. So far, we have had a great season so keep going, keep improving, keep progressing and the team is doing so well and I think it is enjoyable to be part of this team. We have to keep it going. We have good players, a great team, a great year but it is only success if we keep going.”
Meanwhile, Ten Hag is hopeful that Jadon Sancho’s successful penalty in the shoot-out against Brighton on Sunday will help the winger rediscover his best form for the season run-in.
Sancho, who missed a penalty in England’s shoot-out defeat to Italy in the European Championship final in 2021, has endured a difficult campaign and took time away from the club at the end of 2022 to focus on his physical and mental condition.
“I think also we have seen in the season many times very good performances from Jadon and I think definitely that moment on Sunday will strengthen him even more, give him more courage, more belief, definitely,” said Ten Hag.
“We all know what happened and I think you have to recognise it and reward it, what he did on Sunday, to step behind the ball and it was such a good penalty. I was so convinced and the same you can say for Rashy [Marcus Rashford] — so convinced. They stepped over the tram mark and that is very good, it shows they have character and personality and that can help us.
“There are a lot of questions about bouncing back in the game and it is the same as in a game; show the personality and when things are not going in your direction make sure you turn it around.”