Manchester United's proposed pursuit of Harry Kane for a British record fee has been laughed off by Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino. Reports have suggested Louis van Gaal's side will reignite their interest in the England international in the January transfer window but Pochettino says it is too early to discuss such matters.
The Sun has reported that United's manager is prepared to pay a record fee to acquire Kane for the second half of the campaign, after the striker marked the end of his 238-minute domestic goal drought with a hat-trick in the 5-1 demolition of Bournemouth. The Old Trafford club currently hold the record for the most spent by a British side on a single player, having signed Angel di Maria for £59.7m ($92m) from Real Madrid in the summer of 2014.
But United would be required to break that record if they wish to sign Kane and bolster a forward line that has failed to score in the last two games, against Middlesbrough and Manchester City. Anthony Martial is the top scorer this season but Van Gaal's recent partiality with playing the France youngster out wide is stifling their goal threat.
Tottenham's approach to interest in their best players in recent years has been stubborn, with chairman Daniel Levy regarded as one of the sternest negotiators in the top flight. Gareth Bale and Luka Modric's protracted moves to Real Madrid serve as notice to United that they face an extended battle to prise Kane from the grasp of the White Hart Lane club.
And Pochettino has begun that offensive by dismissing the latest reports regarding the future of Tottenham's main striker, who netted 31 goals in all competitions last term. The Argentine boss has rebuffed the reports and believes talk regarding moves in January is premature.
"I smile because the rumours are always there," the Spurs boss said, according to Sky Sports, upon being asked about United's interest in Kane. "The rumours are the rumours. Even now it is too early starting speaking about rumours but you know in football it is normal."
"He is very important for us, for the team, for the club and the supporters; Harry Kane is a very important player for us," Pochettino added in a pre-match press conference to preview the Premier League visit of Aston Villa, who are without a manager following the sacking of Tim Sherwood. "He has recovered his confidence and trust in himself now and that is very important. You know always we believe in him the period happens for every top player, a striker, and they have a period where it is difficult to score.
"It was an important period for him to learn, to realise that a lot of things in football are good and bad but one thing is important and that is to keep working hard. He always showed that he will never give up and he worked the same way by working for the team. This was the key for again for him to start to score."