Tottenham may not have made any moves in the transfer market so far this summer, but chairman Daniel Levy has already secured two hugely significant signatures.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino, who has overseen so much progress in the last four years, signed a new five-year contract a fortnight ago, and on Friday it was announced that the club’s talismanic striker Harry Kane has penned a six-year deal.
It is another huge show of commitment from a titanic figure at the club.
There was a time not so long ago when Spurs would spend their summers trying to find a striker who would deliver 20 goals a season — a search that resulted in their £26million move for Roberto Soldado in 2013.
Now Tottenham have a forward who has scored at least 25 goals in the Premier League alone in each of his last three seasons. In fact, in the last 12 months he has struck 30 times in the top flight, while netting another 16 times for club and country. Spurs are by no means a one-man team but Kane’s consistency has undoubtedly been key to their rise.
On top of all this, the 24-year-old is a powerful icon for Tottenham. He is a global star whose status has only been enhanced by the fact he will captain England at the World Cup, yet he has also remained incredibly grounded and approachable and is constantly seeking to improve himself.
In short, he is worth his weight in gold — although he is not quite as heavy as FIFA have suggested.
The big question has always been “how long will Spurs be able to keep him?”. Indeed, the same has been true of the squad as a whole for a number of years.
Along with their trophyless decade, Tottenham’s place in the economic rankings has been the biggest issue facing the club: in a world where players are routinely poached by richer rivals, how do they fight that trend, hold on to their top talents and maintain their progress? With that in mind, Kane’s new deal is a big moment.
Having tied Pochettino down to his contract, Levy’s next challenge was to get the players to follow suit and show them they would be paid a competitive rate for their skills.The fact that Kane, the club’s most valuable player, has quickly led the way and put pen to paper himself suggests the chairman has made a strong start in that regard.
While it is unclear just how much Kane is earning now — it is understood that a reported figure of up to £200,000 a week including bonuses is wide of the mark — the club feel the sheer length of his new deal, which is unusual, shows just how much they value him.
With all of this said, it would be unfair to suggest Kane needed this pay rise to stay at the club. Money has never seemed to be his primary motivation.
Perhaps this is naivety, or romanticism, but he genuinely seems to have an affinity with Tottenham and seems to be driven instead by his targets and ambition — the chance to write his name into history.
You can bet he is determined to score the first goal at Spurs’ new stadium. In the longer-term, he will surely want a good crack at overhauling Jimmy Greaves and Alan Shearer and becoming both Tottenham’s and the Premier League’s highest ever goalscorer.
One of those record attempts would be ended if Kane left North London, and both would be scuppered if he moved abroad. That fact could keep him at the club for many years, even if he could still earn more elsewhere.
All of this probably makes Levy’s job easier when it comes to negotiating with Kane’s people, and he may have tougher conversations ahead with representatives of players who are more concerned with their financial worth.
Nevertheless, the chairman will surely now attempt to secure the futures of several other key men, fitting them into a more rewarding wage structure below Kane.
That will require a substantial outlay, but replacing Champions League-level players is also a hugely expensive business these days, so Levy will doubtless be hoping for a domino effect similar to 2016, when a host of senior figures signed new contracts.
Friday’s announcement certainly seems financially significant, hinting at a narrowing of the gap between Spurs’ salaries and their rivals. But, just as importantly, Kane’s renewed commitment shows he believes he can achieve his ambitions at Tottenham, both personally on the goal trail and when it comes to finally winning silverware as a team.
If any of Spurs’ current players have contemplated following Kyle Walker’s lead and departing in search of both greater riches and success, they might just be having second thoughts now and wondering if they could still tick both boxes in North London.
Ben is ESPN FC’s Tottenham blogger. Follow on Twitter: @BenPearceSpurs.