SAMI MOKBEL: How limp United could've done with Kane in FA Cup final

SAMI MOKBEL: How limp Manchester United could have done with Harry Kane leading their line in the FA Cup final… the Red Devils must park their reluctance to deal with Daniel Levy and throw the kitchen sink at trying to sign the Tottenham star this summer

  • Manchester United’s lack of a world class striker was evident in the FA Cup final 
  • Marcus Rashford is a high class player but is much more comfortable out wide 
  • United must do all they can to sign Harry Kane to take them to the next level 

Harry Kane will march into England HQ next week haunted by an inescapable sense of what might have been.

The 25-man squad Gareth Southgate has selected to face Malta and North Macedonia for this month’s Euro 2024 qualifiers will be missing at least five players when they convene at St George’s Park.

Manchester City’s John Stones, Kyle Walker, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and Kalvin Phillips have been given permission to join up later, with the Champions League final their priority.

Kane’s mind may wander back to the summer of 2021, when it looked like he would be joining Manchester City. He remained at Tottenham and remains without a trophy to his name.

The Etihad ship has sailed. Erling Haaland filled the shoes the England captain was supposed to fit into, but the Manchester United ship remains docked, ready for him to climb aboard. Erik ten Hag needs a new striker. He needs Kane.

The lack of a top quality striker for Man United was evident in their FA Cup final defeat to City

They need a striker like Harry Kane although it will be hard to prize him away from Tottenham

Needing and having are two entirely different things, of course. When Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is involved, such issues are often fraught and excruciating. But if there was ever a game that underlined why a world-class forward could transform United, then it was at Wembley on Saturday.

Marcus Rashford played as United’s central striker in the FA Cup final loss to Manchester City. He worked hard enough, though a video of him standing still to allow Rodri a free header was hardly an ideal snapshot.

Rashford worked the channels and his pace caused City’s defence a few worrying moments. But the 25-year-old is more suited to playing off the flanks. He does not possess the presence and strength Kane has, nor the finishing ability — not that United created anything clear-cut anyway.

Marcus Rashford worked hard in attack but struggled to really make an impact on the game

Erik ten Hag requires an upgrade up front and Kane is the best available striker on the market

It is obvious, though, that United require an upgrade and Kane is the best available striker on the market this summer.

To that end, United must park their reluctance to deal with Levy and throw the kitchen sink at trying to sign Kane, even if it means paying in excess of £100million for a player in the final year of his contract.

United believe the key to the signing rests on whether the 29-year-old is willing to force a move away from Tottenham, while making clear Old Trafford is his preferred destination.

Real Madrid’s emergence as a contender will add another layer of difficulty to United’s pursuit. Spurs are adamant they do not want to sell to a domestic rival. Madrid’s interest solves a problem for Levy.

United must park their reluctance to deal with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and move for Kane

Kane will be haunted by an inescapable sense of what might have been when he looks at his England teammates like Kyle Walker (left) and John Stones (right) winning trophies at City

Those at Old Trafford rate their chances of landing Kane at ‘unlikely’ at best and they are looking at alternative targets. Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic are options, while there is also interest in Atalanta’s Rasmus Hojlund and Eintracht Frankfurt forward Randal Kolo Muani. But they are not Kane and that is the reason why United are unwilling to walk away just yet.

Would Kane win trophies at United? There are no guarantees. But he would be more likely to do so there than at Tottenham. Likewise, United would be more likely to win silverware with Kane.

He will look at the prominent roles England team-mates Stones, Walker and Grealish have played in City’s historic season and feel he is deserving of those sort of experiences.

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