How much will Harry Kane's injury harm Tottenham Hotspur's season?
By Joe Harker
When the final whistle was blown in Tottenham Hotspur's 1-0 loss to Manchester United the reaction of one player was most concerning for fans of the defeated club. Star striker Harry Kane stayed where he was and didn't move, requiring help from the medical team to help him get off the pitch. More devastating than defeat in a big game is a significant injury to the best player in the team. Kane is irreplaceable in the Spurs team, they have no player that can score like he can.
The BBC reports that Kane will be out until March and the injury is to his ankle ligaments. He will miss a number of games and won't resume training for weeks, his return to full fitness could take even longer.
There is never a good time to lose your best player but considering the games he will miss Kane's absence will be even more damaging to Spurs. The Evening Standard reports that the striker will be out for about 10 games, including the Carabao Cup game against Chelsea and the final they could reach afterwards. Spurs won the first leg 1-0 but their chances of progression are damaged by Kane's absence, he scored the penalty that won the first leg.
He will also miss the first leg of the Champions League knockout tie against Borussia Dortmund and is a huge doubt for the second leg, due to be played on March 5. If he misses that game then he will also miss the North London Derby against Arsenal due to be played three days earlier. Even worse, the game preceding that is the Premier League game against Chelsea which Kane will almost certainly miss. By the time he returns they could be out of the Carabao Cup and Champions League.
There injury has exposed a weakness in the Spurs squad, they don't have a solid backup for Kane. The other senior striker in the squad is Fernando Llorente but his tally of nine goals in 44 appearances for Spurs is less than encouraging. He might replace Kane for now but is unlikely to be an adequate long term option.
Heung-Min son could have been an option but he has just joined up with the South Korean squad to play in the Asian Cup. Spurs made an agreement so that Son could miss the first two games of the tournament but he is now away on international duty. He will definitely miss the next two Spurs games and his return depends on how far South Korea goes, the final is on February 1 meaning he could miss the next five club games.
The injury to Kane and Son's absence have made it ever clear that Spurs need to sign a new striker. Luckily this is January and the transfer window is open. They need to sign someone and have an opportunity to do so, surely this is a no brainer?
Not quite. As hard as it is to bring in a striker of Kane's quality it is perhaps harder to identify a capable backup who will be content spending most of his time on the bench. When Kane is fit he will play and a striker good enough to play backup to one of the world's best would be good enough to ply his trade regularly elsewhere. Spurs made no signings in the summer so the money to bring in a replacement might not be available.