Harry Kane will head to a happy hunting ground on Saturday eager to ignore the uncertainty over his future and keep Tottenham on course for a top-four finish.
Spurs travel to Southampton with the aim of ending a difficult month on a high after recent FA Cup and Champions League exits consigned the club to a 15th trophyless season.
Toothless displays against Sheffield United and AC Milan have exacerbated the concern over Kane’s future with his current terms set to expire in the summer of 2024.
Discussions regarding a new contract for the England captain, who has scored in six of his last seven visits to St Mary’s, are yet to get under way and no plans are in place for that to change during the forthcoming international break, the PA news agency understands.
With a lack of clarity over Antonio Conte’s future or what European competition Spurs will play in next season, the current focus is on trying to finish this campaign strongly, but Kane remains not for sale.
“For sure, the club wants to involve Harry Kane for the rest of his career in my opinion,” Conte said.
“Because when you have this type of player, a world-class striker like him, for sure you want him to stay here for the rest of his career.
“But then you know football, you know football. Sometimes it’s unpredictable but I think it’s not in my task to make a decision. This is a decision for the club and for Harry.”
Kane endured a summer of speculation in 2021 – either side of starring in the Euros for England – but saw a proposed move to Manchester City fail and has since become Tottenham’s all-time leading scorer.
With Conte expected to depart at the end of the season, the forward must decide whether to stick around for another new regime or seek an exit in an attempt to win silverware.
It was a similar scenario for Kane’s idol Teddy Sheringham, who did leave Spurs in 1997 and went on to enjoy a trophy-laden spell at Manchester United.
Sheringham told the PA news agency: “Tottenham need to keep him but other clubs need to buy him if they want to go on to bigger and better things.
“It is a decision Harry has to make. I am sure it will come up between now and the end of the season and he has to think what he wants to do himself.”
Kane will aim to move closer to Alan Shearer’s record Premier League goal tally against relegation-threatened Southampton and yet this is a fixture few expected to happen on Saturday.
When Spurs were drawn away to Sheffield United in the FA Cup fifth round and Saints got a home tie against fourth-tier Grimsby, at least one of the Premier League sides were backed to be in cup action across this weekend.
Instead both now focus on just the league and Sheringham, speaking at the London Football Awards on Monday, where Son Heung-min’s goal of the season accolade was Tottenham’s solitary prize, feels defeat at Bramall Lane proved the catalyst for a disastrous period in Spurs’ season.
Sheringham added: “It was always going to be a tough game to bounce back on Saturday (against Nottingham Forest) after the 10 days they’ve had.
“It started going out at Sheffield United in the FA Cup. He (Conte) put himself under pressure with the team he played and the way they played in that game, it started the disappointment.
“If he had these two weeks again, I think he would have gone all out to win that FA Cup game.”