Harry Kane Former Manchester United Target Playing for Bayern Munich at Old Trafford

There is a subtle irony in Harry Kane’s first club game in England since joining Bayern Munich being against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

United has been linked with Kane almost every summer. Many believed that when the 30-year-old finally left Tottenham, that would be his destination.

However, the move never materialized.

Instead, Bayern persistently pressed and eventually convinced Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy to release Kane in August.

United stepped back, feeling that executing the transfer would be too expensive, too challenging, and would take too long. Instead, they signed Rasmus Hojlund.

Comparisons between Kane and the 20-year-old Danish forward are unfair.

One is an experienced, proven goal-scorer, the other is a young player with great potential, just starting his career.

But it is worth considering this as United strives on Tuesday (20:00 GMT) to secure a crucial victory for any chance of progressing to the last 16.

In prize money alone, each victory in the Champions League group phase is worth €2.8 million (£2.4 million). So far, Bayern has four in this season’s competition, while United has only one. Qualification for the knockout rounds provides an additional €9.6 million (£8.23 million), with further riches on offer for reaching the latter stages.

In other words, if Bayern were to win, they would have netted an extra £17.8 million from the Champions League pot.

Hojlund cost United an initial £64 million, plus an additional £8 million to Atalanta if certain targets are met. Sometimes, it is worth considering more than just a transfer fee in working out whether a deal is too expensive or not.

Joining one of the world’s biggest clubs
Kane has scored six goals at Old Trafford. Most recently, he netted twice for England in their seven-goal hammering of North Macedonia in June.

He also got two in Tottenham’s famous 6-1 win in 2020. Manchester United fans do not need to be reminded of the striker’s quality, which is why so many of them felt Kane should have been the club’s number one transfer target in the summer.

BBC Sport has previously been told the club struggle to do ‘hard’ deals.

In this instance, there was certainly no guarantee Levy would sell to a direct rival. Even Kane’s move to Bayern was dragged out, to the extent of a delay being encountered just as the forward was about to fly to Germany to complete his move.

But there was a feeling in the game that Tottenham’s former owner Joe Lewis had decided Kane would not be allowed to go into the final year of his contract, and that if the striker didn’t sign a new one, he would be sold.

Bayern made their pitch early and eventually got their man.

“One of the big reasons I came is that Bayern is one of the biggest clubs in the world,” Kane told BBC Radio 5 Live in September.

“They are expected to win every competition. If they don’t, they see the season as a failure. I felt that straight away.

“It is a different pressure to what I have experienced in my club career so far. That will help me improve and to deal with high-pressure situations.

“This challenge will help me grow as a person.”

Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel said it was “a big deal to take the England skipper out of the Premier League”.

No regrets
Kane is, of course, second in the all-time Premier League scoring record charts with 213, 47 behind Alan Shearer. He does want to break the record and moving to Germany has not ended that desire. Two good seasons, or three decent ones, would be enough, and even if he remains with Bayern until his contract expires in 2027, he could still get there.

For now, though, he is concentrating on Bayern, finding himself in an odd position, a bit like United, in the sense there are positive and negatives to reflect on.

Highest scorer in the top five European leagues with 18, Kane felt it necessary to put an apology on social media on Sunday after Bayern suffered the 5-1 defeat by Frankfurt, their heaviest league loss since 2019.

“We know yesterday wasn’t good enough,” he said. “Full focus now on Tuesday to show the right reaction.”

Defeated in the German Super Cup and out of the German Cup, the Bundesliga is Bayern’s only chance of winning a domestic trophy this season and would represent the first significant silverware of Kane’s career.

But given Bayern have won the title in 11 consecutive seasons and even after Saturday’s stunning reverse leaves them second, only four points adrift of Bayer Leverkusen with a match in hand, it is in Europe where Kane was really bought to make a difference.

He has scored four goals in his five Champions League appearances for Bayern so far. Given his 25 all-time goals in the competition leaves him outside the top 40 in the overall scoring charts, it is fair to assume he would be at the back of the queue of players asking Tuchel for a rest from what, for them, is a dead rubber given group superiority is already assured.z z z z z z z z z z

As he told Gary Neville 19 months ago in an extensive chat on The Overlap, Kane has a keen sense of wanting to get the very best from his career.

“I don’t want to have regrets,” he said. “I want to be the best I can be and have so much more to give.

“I am not afraid to say I want to be the best, scoring 50, 60, 70. Pressure from myself is always bigger than any pressure anyone else can put on me.

“I want to play in the biggest games and have the biggest moments.”