In a parallel universe, the free-scoring England captain would have been preparing to gun down six-time winners Bayern Munich in the Champions League this season, but he will instead spearhead the charge for the Bundesliga heavyweights, against United and other Group A opponents. FC Copenhagen and Galatasaray complete the make-up of what will be a hugely exciting and difficult challenge for Erik ten Hag and his players.
No matter who United drew upon their return to the marquee European competition, it would have drummed up more than enough sub-plots to provide a fitting script for their impending charge. Rasmus Hojlund&aposs brothers, twins Emil and Oscar, are making their way at Denmark side Copenhagen and who can forget that infamous &aposWelcome to Hell&apos showdown between United and Galatasaray in October 1993? But the immediate focus is Kane.
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United registered an interest in the now-former Tottenham striker as far back as March this year. Fast forward five months and the 30-year-old is up, running and banging them in for Bayern.
With three goals in two early-season Bundesliga matches, the Londoner is starting to pay back the 100million fee United, seemingly, deemed too much before spending 72m on Hojlund instead. Of course, it was never going to be easy for the Old Trafford giants to strike up business with Daniel Levy in any case.
Bayern always had a leg up when it came to dealing with Tottenham chairman Levy – a fearsome negotiator with whom United have history – but attempts to lure Kane to Manchester from north London were ended before they had ever really begun. In the end, the prolific striker settled on a new adventure in Bavaria.
He will now make his first return to the UK in sparkling form. Shaking off any jet-lag to score on his Bundesliga bow against Werder Bremen and twice more in another victory over FC Augsburg – in a successful first outing at his now Allianz Arena home – Kane and Bayern are, once again, a force to be reckoned with.
But while their blueprint to sign him failed, United did manage to stop the England captain last campaign. He drew a blank in both Premier League games as the Old Trafford giants wrestled four points from Tottenham.
The transfer window will soon close and although United got their hands on three players well in advance of the September 1 deadline, with Rasmus Hojlund joining Mason Mount and Andre Onana at Old Trafford, activity has stalled since Hojlund&aposs announcement.
A goalkeeper, a midfielder and a striker were Erik ten Hag&aposs priorities heading into the summer window, but injuries early on in the season mean United are in need of further reinforcements.
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Kane-less Tottenham, incidentally, overwhelmed United just a few days ago, yet Ten Hag can still call upon his action plan for him when his team and Bayern collide on two of Europe&aposs grandest stages.
“You have to defend as a team and he&aposs a clever player,” said Ten Hag upon meeting Kane after transfer interest hit the online sphere. “Don&apost allow him to come into the situations where he can have a big impact on the game.”