Manchester City are still £50million short of meeting Tottenham’s £150million valuation of Harry Kane.
The Premier League champions are approaching D-Day in their bid to land the England captain, with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy refusing to cave in on Kane’s demand to be allowed to leave.
Mirror Sport understands that City are still to improve on their opening offer of £100million – and Tottenham have no interest in taking any players as makeweights to sweeten the deal.
It has been suggested that City would hike their bid to £120million with further add-ons.
But that hasn’t yet happened. Levy has refused to set a price for City to pay, but it is believed that £150million would bring him to the negotiating table.
That would mean Etihad chiefs tearing up the £200million budget they set to add Kane and Jack Grealish to Pep Guardiola’s squad this summer.
When City made their play for the 28-year-old they believed that the so-called “gentleman’s agreement” Kane struck with Levy when he signed a six-year contract in 2018 would allowed him to leave for £100million should Tottenham fail to qualify for the Champions League for a second successive season.
The Blues failed in an attempt to persuade Aston Villa to accept a player-plus-cash deal when they approached the midlands club for Grealish.
In the end, they were left with no option but to trigger the £100million buy-out clause in Grealish’s contract when Villa made it clear it was the only way they would sell.
No such provision exists in Kane’s agreement with Spurs – and that means Levy is holding all the aces.
Despite Guardiola’s claim that he is happy with the squad currently at his disposal, the reality is that the City boss is crazy for Kane.
He rejected the chance to pursue Romelu Lukaku or Erling Haaland as alternative targets earlier this summer.
And he has been cool on reports that Cristiano Ronaldo would welcome a return to Manchester and that Robert Lewandowski is unsettled at Bayern Munich.
Despite reports in Italy linking City with an £80million move for Dusan Vlahovic, the champions have no interest in the young Fiorentina striker.
City’s hopes of prising Kane away from Tottenham would also hinge on the Londoners still having enough time to bring in reinforcements for Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad before the transfer window closes on August 31.
City are aware that failing to land a proven goalscorer could have serious consequences on their season.
Guardiola guided them to the title despite having the now-departed Sergio Aguero missing for most of the season through injury and illness.
But the Blues’ boss has made it clear that he doesn’t think that will be sustainable for another season.
City, meanwhile, are trying to nurse Kevin De Bruyne through the opening weeks of the campaign in the hope the Belgian international can avoid having an operation to fix the ankle problem he suffered during the Euros.
De Bruyne suffered a partial tear of his ligaments against Portugal and opted to play through the pain barrier in the quarter-final defeat by Italy.
When he reported back to the Etihad for pre-season training, he was sent to see eminent Barcelona-based medic Dr Ramon Cugat.
The diagnosis was that another heavy knock would force De Bruyne to go under the knife and risk being sidelined for months.
Even with Phil Foden missing due to an injury sustained during the Euros, it was still a surprise when Guardiola named De Bruyne as a substitute for the opening-day defeat at Tottenham and then sent him on for the final 15 minutes to rescue the game.