Former long-serving Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Darren Anderton believes Harry Kane could one day leave the club in the event that one of heavyweight La Liga duo Barcelona or Real Madrid show an interest in his services.

Academy graduate Kane has developed into arguably Spurs' most important player since making a major breakthrough under Mauricio Pochettino in 2014-15, winning back-to-back Premier League Golden Boot awards and going onto captain his country.

Manchester United have been sporadically linked with the 24-year-old in the past, although in December 2016 he demonstrated his commitment to Tottenham by signing a new five-and-a-half year deal that could eventually be worth in excess of £100,000-a-week ($127,998).

The lack of like-for-like competition for Kane has often been cited as a potential weakness for Spurs, with Dutch international Vincent Janssen having failed to impose himself since a £17m switch from AZ Alkmaar last summer.

However, Anderton, who made 300 appearances across all competitions for the Lilywhites in a 12-year stint between 1992-2004, does not necessarily believe he needs to have that sort of battle to maintain his best form.

"I think most players need to have competition to improve their game, but I don't think Kane needs it," he told sportingbet.com. "He's young and hungry and I think the fact he went out on loan so often to lower league clubs when he was younger, it's really toughened him up - especially mentally as he's got so much belief in his ability and desire to be at the top. He's a dream for a manager as he's always got his foot on the pedal.

"Harry's the top man at the club and the one player they can't afford to lose. I think he loves the club and wouldn't want to force a move, but if Real Madrid or Barcelona come knocking, he could go."

Janssen's failure to produce mattered little to free-scoring Tottenham in 2016-17, with Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son both weighing in with their fair share of goals as the club finished the year with three 20+ scorers for the very first time.

And while Anderton acknowledges that his former employers could do with an insurance policy for Kane, who suffered from two separate ankle injuries last term, he knows the difficulty they face in coaxing a quality striker to come and play second fiddle.

"Son did a fantastic job last year when Kane was injured, banging in goals left right and centre and for me he really got Tottenham's season going," he added. "Tottenham need another top centre-forward in case Kane does get injured, but a £60/70 million player isn't going to come in and sit on the bench."

Harry Kane
Harry Kane is currently experiencing another frustrating August goal drought BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images