LONDON: Daniel Levy, the Tottenham Hotspur chairman, sent out a text message as soon as the story appeared linking Harry Kane with a move to Bayern Munich: the striker was not for sale. Not at any price. Spurs have been here before. There was an insistence that Luka Modric was not going anywhere. He ended up at Real Madrid. There was a similar bullish denial of Gareth Bale leaving. He was also sold to Real.
However, Spurs insist there is, at least for now, a very different feel to Kane's future. He was linked to Manchester United over the summer and, although no bid was made, Spurs again declared that he would not be sold. "He's one of our own," the Spurs supporters gleefully sing about Kane in a chant that both the player and the club embrace. However, it is a strategy that might be tested to the full should the right level of club come calling with an offer that proves very difficult to turn down. Spurs still need to prove they are not a selling club.
In fairness to Spurs, there was a wry reaction to the Bayern story coming so quickly after Kane's worth had been questioned when he failed to score at the start of the campaign. That has been rectified. Kane's cool finish at Arsenal on Sunday was his sixth goal in his past four matches and his ninth this season. The doubts have been banished. Not that they should have been there in the first place. "Nothing changed in my vision for him when he did not score," Mauricio Pochettino, the Spurs manager, said. And, of course, he is right.
In fact, Kane has been an even more impressive player this season for the way he has handled the pressure. I interviewed him at the start of the campaign and, in response to a question about whether scoring 31 goals last season was a daunting total to emulate, his answer was telling.
"I know that if I don't score in the next two or three games people are going to be asking: 'Is he a one-season wonder?' But it's part of it. I'm in no rush," Kane said. Having tempted fate, he then did not score for those games. And people did start to question whether he could sustain it.
What was impressive was that Kane had raised what might happen. No one was calling him a "one?season wonder" until he used that phrase just so he could then demolish it.
Analysis of Kane's contribution this season to a vibrant young Spurs side - the youngest in the Premier League, with the 22?year-old leading the line and increasingly becoming a totemic presence - shows that he is playing even better than last season. He has a fierce desire to improve. He has now scored 22 league goals in 2015 - four more than any other player - and has scored 10 times in 13 London derbies in the league. He already has three goals for England. Kane scored against Arsenal but his all?round play was even more impressive than his goal.
The only question seems to be whether Kane would be better deployed pushed further forward as a genuine No?9, and stay up there, or whether he should continue to drop deeper and play the 'No?10' role that he feels is his best position. He took the squad No?10 with relish when it became available after Emmanuel Adebayor was banished from the squad. He said he wanted to become a "club legend".
Roy Hodgson was at the Emirates Stadium just as he had been at White Hart Lane on Monday last week when Kane also scored with aplomb against Aston Villa, and it should have confirmed in the England manager's mind that Kane deserved to start either against Spain in the prestige friendly in Alicante on Friday or against France at Wembley a week today. There is an understandable clamour for Hodgson to include Leicester City's Jamie Vardy after his incredible form and run of scoring in nine successive league matches but Kane should, for now, remain ahead of him.
In fact, it makes sense for Kane to start one of the friendlies as England's centre-forward and Vardy to start the other. What will Hodgson gain by, as is likely, including Wayne Rooney as his main striker for both matches? Without the injured Daniel Sturridge, and with Rooney now 30 and in a continued run of disappointing form, England need to find another centre-forward. Kane is the outstanding candidate.
Playing him from the start against Spain or France would test him in a way that scoring against Lithuania or San Marino would not. He featured against Italy, and there was an important lesson from defender Giorgio Chiellini, but not in the 4?3-3 formation Hodgson wants to use in Euro 2016.
"I can look back in 15 years' time and think 'last season was a good season in a great career, not a great season in a good career'," Kane said in that interview in August. He is providing evidence that will be the case.