Thomas Tuchel throws Chelsea’s hat into the ring in Harry Kane fight

Thomas Tuchel has signalled Chelsea’s interest in Harry Kane, admitting any manager in the world would jump at the chance to work with the Tottenham striker.

Kane has been open about his desire to leave Tottenham and his representatives have been contacted by Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United. The race is likely to be intense and Tuchel, who wants his side to become more ruthless, did not hesitate to make it clear that he is an admirer of the England captain.

“If you find any coach around the world who would not like to have Harry Kane in his team, call me again,” Chelsea’s manager said. “I would like to speak with the guy and hear about his ideas of scoring and attacking. Everybody loves Harry Kane but let’s be very, very clear, he is a player for Tottenham. He has a long-term contract and we will not get involved in any press conference with any disrespectful comments about that.”

Chelsea, who are also interested in Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland and Internazionale’s Romelu Lukaku, have the financial means to buy Kane. However, they are likely to find it difficult to entice Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, to the negotiating table. Levy knows that selling his best player to Spurs’s London rivals would go down badly with the club’s fanbase, which could leave the door open for City.

Kane has named Kevin De Bruyne as the Premier League player he would most like to link up with in comments that have intensified the impression he sees City as his destination of choice. The 27-year-old also told Gary Neville on the The Overlap podcast that he is not interested in a move abroad at this stage of his career. City hold an interest in Haaland as well, but it is unclear whether he will be available.

Kane did not hesitate when asked by Neville to reveal the player who would help him to score even more goals. “De Bruyne for sure,” he said. “When I watch De Bruyne play, he’s a special, special player and some of the balls I see him put in for City are just a striker’s dream. He’s an outstanding player with the ball, off the ball, pressing, but his delivery is as good as I’ve ever seen.” In preview clips released from the Neville interview on Thursday, Kane had suggested that Levy might be wise to sell him in the upcoming window because his value is at its peak. Levy, though, does not want to sell Kane.

In the full interview, Kane discusses his ambition to overtake Alan Shearer as the Premier League’s all-time top scorer. Shearer retired with 260 goals in the competition; Kane has 165. It was in this context that Kane said he wanted to stay in England. “I guess injuries would be the biggest thing stopping me [from getting Shearer’s record],” Kane said. “Of course, there’s always the option of maybe moving abroad one day but I don’t think that really interests me in the near future.

“I’m 27 so I’ve still got, hopefully, a long way to go so, yeah, it’s definitely there. I’ve consistently scored 20-plus in my injury-free seasons in the Premier League so if I can do that for the next four or five years then it’ll be there. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t [want the Premier League record]. If I get to the end and I haven’t broken that record and the Wayne Rooney England record [of 53 goals; Kane has 34] then I’d probably be a little disappointed in myself.”

Kane wants to leave in order to win the biggest trophies, which he has been unable to do at Spurs, although he has gone close with title challenges in 2016 and 2017 and defeat in the 2019 Champions League final.

The club made no signings in the summer of 2018 or January 2019 and the forward expressed frustration at their failure to build upon strong foundations.

“We were in a real good place with the team. For one reason or another we didn’t quite do what we needed to do and where we’re at now, I feel like we’re at a rebuild stage again. It’s disappointing … I feel like it was an opportunity missed for the club to do something special.”

Chelsea’s need for extra firepower is underlined by the fact that Jorginho is their top scorer in the Premier League with seven. “Is that what we want?” Tuchel said. “Jorginho our top scorer? No. Not because we don’t like Jorgi; he deserves all the fame and all the praise. But of course we don’t want him to be our top scorer. We try to improve our statistics offensively. First of all we do that with the guys who are here.”