Wayne Rooney says he has never been a natural finisher and fully expects Harry Kane to beat his record for the most England goals.

Throughout a trophy-laden career, Rooney has surpassed Bobby Charlton's benchmarks as the leading scorer for Manchester United and England.

Rooney struck 253 times in 559 appearances for the Red Devils and celebrated 53 goals in 120 England caps.

However, Rooney feels he should have scored more in his career and tipped Tottenham striker Kane – who has a superb 32 goals in 45 England games – to beat his international haul for the Three Lions.

"I'm going to be honest - and this might surprise you - but I'm not a natural goalscorer," Rooney wrote in his Sunday Times column.

"I hold the goal records for Manchester United and England and am very proud about that - yet there have been better number nines than me.

"How did I become a record-breaker if I wasn't a natural scorer? Time. I played for United for 13 years, England for 15 years. I had time to break those records - and looking back I should have scored more.

"I don't think it will take long for Harry Kane to claim my England record and it would be a proud moment for me.

"I've never been a selfish player and it would be great for England for Harry to get there. Bobby Charlton had to wait 50 years [for me to break his England record] - I hope it's not so long for me.

"The United record might last longer simply because players don't stay at clubs as long as they used to.

"Mind you, if [Lionel] Messi or [Cristiano] Ronaldo came to Old Trafford for a swansong they'd probably break it in three or four years!"

Rooney, now a player-coach with Championship side Derby County, won 12 major honours during his time with United.

He departed Old Trafford to return to Everton for the 2017-18 season and had a spell at DC United in MLS before joining Derby. 

Harry Kane is poised to mount a challenge to Alan Shearer's Premier League goals record - and it all began with an April purple patch.

At the beginning of April 2014, the man who has gone on to become England captain was a lively enough Tottenham prospect, albeit struggling for game time in the Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor era.

Kane had yet to score in the English top flight, either for Spurs or in an unproductive loan spell at Norwich, although he had done better in stints in the lower leagues with Millwall, Leyton Orient and Leicester City.

His world changed thanks to a stroke of ill-fortune for Soldado, the goal-shy Spaniard injured in a thumping 4-0 defeat at Liverpool, giving Kane a chance to make his first Premier League start.

Tim Sherwood was in his final weeks as Spurs boss, but it was he who promoted Kane and a three-game scoring run was the result, changing the course of Kane's career and Tottenham's history.

BAD LUCK FOR BLACK CATS, BLOW TO BAGGIES, COTTAGERS CONDEMNED

Before starting against Sunderland on Monday, April 7, Kane had made eight Premier League appearances in his career - including three for Norwich - and had not netted in 170 minutes of action.

In the 2013-14 Premier League season, he had featured for only 32 minutes in four brief forays from the bench, having a mere two shots.

Sherwood and predecessor Andre Villas-Boas gave Kane plenty of domestic cup and Europa League opportunities, but an EFL Cup strike at Hull had been his only goal of the season.

Kane landed the Premier League goal he craved by prodding home a Christian Eriksen cross from the left in a 5-1 slaying of Sunderland, before headers in the 3-3 fightback at West Brom and 3-1 home win over relegation-bound Fulham gave him three goals in 13 days.

STILL ROUGH AROUND THE EDGES

Starting from the Sunderland game, Kane had 26 shots in six consecutive starts, with an impressive accuracy of 73.3%, let down only by being unable to convert as many of those chances as he would have wanted. Those three in three games were his only Premier League goals of the campaign.

Opta's expected goals model - known as xG - shows that Kane might have done better. He had an xG figure of 4.56 goals for that period, but it would not be long before Kane began exceeding the forecasts of such metrics.

MAKING HIS MARK FOR POCH

Kane was back on the bench for the start of the 2014-15 season as the Mauricio Pochettino era began, but a flood of Europa League and League Cup goals led to inevitable promotion within the Spurs ranks.

He ended that campaign with 21 Premier League games in 34 appearances, netting once every 122.9 minutes of action and far exceeding his 14.46 xG prediction.

GOING ABOVE AND BEYOND

Opta's xG measurements are based on the nature of the chance falling to a player, including looking at whether opportunities are defined as big chances.

Kane has consistently surpassed the xG metrics, demonstrating how clinical he has been, often taking chances when it appeared he stood only a slim chance of scoring.

In 2015-16 he bagged 25 Premier League goals (xG: 21.75), in 2016-17 he grabbed 29 in 30 games (xG: 18.59), in 2017-18 Kane hit 30 goals in the top flight for the first time (xG: 24.79), and last season his 17 goals in 28 games defied xG of 14.77.

During the current, coronavirus-disrupted campaign, Kane has netted 11 times in 20 Premier League games (xG: 7.19), again often proving his team's driving force.

CLIMBING UP THE CHARTS

It all began with that April 2014 burst, with Kane now up to 136 Premier League goals, putting him 13th on the all-time list.

Still just 26 years old, he has plenty of time to move closer to Shearer's record of 260 goals in the competition and is within striking distance of former Tottenham favourites Teddy Sheringham (146), Les Ferdinand (149) and Jermain Defoe (162).

It is little wonder Kane has been linked with the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid, but to Spurs he is surely priceless.

April 17 is a date that will live long in the memory of Tottenham fans after their team held out to claim a Champions League triumph for the ages last year.

Five years ago, James Anderson became England's all-time leading wicket-taker in Test matches – and he certainly was not done there.

And, with the NFL Draft looming, we are able to look back to 1999 and the New Orleans Saints' great Ricky Williams gamble.

Here, we focus on those memorable sporting moments to have occurred on this day.

 

2019 – VAR heartbreak for Sterling and Guardiola

If the first leg of the all-Premier League quarter-final between Tottenham and Manchester City amounted to a cagey offering in north London, the return in Manchester eight days later was anything but.

Raheem Sterling cancelled out City's 1-0 first-leg deficit in four minutes but Son Heung-min, who scored in the initial encounter, struck a quick-fire double to leave the hosts needing to score three unanswered goals. Bernardo Silva and Sterling had accounted for two of those by the midway point of a crazy first half.

Sergio Aguero put Pep Guardiola's men 4-2 ahead on the night and in front for the first time in the tie before the hour, only for substitute Fernando Llorente to bundle home decisively and survive a VAR review for handball.

The video official was not so helpful to City when Sterling thought he had completed a hat-trick in stoppage time, briefly sparking scenes of delirium. Aguero had a heel offside in the build-up and Spurs went through on away goals, with the aggregate score locked at 4-4.

Tottenham overcame Ajax in the semi-finals in similarly dramatic circumstances before losing 2-0 in the final against Liverpoool – Jurgen Klopp's team having been pipped to Premier League glory by domestic treble winners City.

2015 – Peerless Anderson passes Botham

Anderson marked his 100th Test match in style when he persuaded Denesh Ramdin to edge to first slip on the final day of England's first Test against West Indies in Antigua.

It moved the Lancashire paceman on to 384 scalps in cricket's longest format, surpassing the great Ian Botham as England's most prolific bowler in the process.

West Indies were able to hold out for a draw, but Anderson has continued to rack up the numbers in a stunning career.

Now with 151 Test caps, the 37-year-old has 584 wickets – more than any seamer in history.

Anderson's wickets have cost an average of 26.83, and he claimed his 28th five-wicket haul in Tests in his most recent outing, against South Africa in January.

1999 – The Ricky Williams trade

Ricky Williams entered the 1999 NFL Draft after setting an NCAA record for rushing yards with the Texas Longhorns – efforts that saw him scoop the Heisman Trophy.

New Orleans coach Mike Ditka was determined to get his man and went to extraordinary lengths to secure Williams as the fifth overall selection, trading every pick he had to the Washington Redskins.

Williams and Ditka were then famously pictured together as a bride and groom on the front cover of ESPN Magazine, accompanied by the headline "For Better or Worse".

In the end, the gamble backfired as the Saints struggled to a 3-13 season and Ditka was fired.

The Cleveland Browns made Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch the number one pick. Couch was one of five signal callers selected in the first round along with Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith, Daunte Culpepper and Cade McNown.

Of that mixed bag, McNabb went on to enjoy the most successful career – the six-time Pro Bowl pick reaching the Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004.

Neymar has been tipped to make the move to Barcelona, almost three years since his world-record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

Lionel Messi and Co. have spoken glowingly about their former team-mate amid the speculation.

But reports claim a Barca reunion is not on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA DISMISS NEYMAR RETURN

Barcelona have ruled out re-signing Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain, according to Catalunya Radio.

Neymar – who swapped Barca for PSG in a world-record €222million transfer in 2017 – has been repeatedly linked with a Camp Nou comeback.

But the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic reportedly mean Barca are not in a position to bring Neymar back to the club at the end of the coronavirus-hit 2019-20 campaign.

 

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Borussia Dortmund or Manchester United? Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham is hot property following his exploits for the Championship outfit prior to the coronavirus outbreak. Both clubs are vying for Bellingham, however, the Daily Mail says Dortmund are hopeful of beating United to the 16-year-old's signature.

- The Daily Mail claims Tottenham have asked former manager Mauricio Pochettino to take a pay cut. Pochettino is on gardening leave following his sacking and Spurs are looking to reduce costs amid the COVID-19 crisis.

- Staying in London and Tottenham are seriously interested in signing Inter centre-back Diego Godin, reports Mundo Deportivo. The 34-year-old Uruguayan has struggled to fit into Antonio Conte's plans, having only arrived from Atletico Madrid at the start of the 2019-20 campaign. United have also been linked.

Gianluigi Buffon is poised to sign a new deal with Serie A champions Juventus, according to Calciomercato. The only thing missing is the 42-year-old goalkeeper's signature.

Everton are interested in Torino star Andrea Belotti, says Tuttosport. The Italy international has also been linked to United and Napoli.

- Marca claims Eder Militao will remain at Real Madrid, having been reassured that he will not be sold by the Spanish giants.

- Agent Mino Raiola would prefer to send United midfielder Paul Pogba to either PSG or Juventus instead of Madrid, according to Soccer Link.

Harry Kane and Jack Grealish would be welcome additions at Manchester United according to Mark Bosnich, who feels his former club are moving in the right direction under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United were on an 11-match unbeaten run in all competitions when the COVID-19 crisis brought a halt to much of competitive football globally.

As such, when the close season arrives, any Old Trafford overhaul might not be as drastic as first imagined.

Nevertheless, ex-Australia goalkeeper Bosnich told Stats Perform a high-end addition in attack would be ideal, even though he acknowledges a high asking price and Tottenham's notorious hard-ball tactics in the transfer market could make acquiring Kane a tough ask.

"I think they need another striker, another big attacking player," he said.

"What the run and improvement has done is bought Manchester United time and put them a little bit more in a position of strength.

"I'd be looking for a striker to complete that spine. You're thinking Bruno Fernandes, Harry Maguire, David De Gea... Marcus Rashford you could have probably added to that but with the injury and so forth you're considering someone who can help him lead the line. A big signing up in the middle.

"Harry Kane would be absolutely fantastic for Manchester United. Whether or not Tottenham would let him go, I don't know, and the price tag they were talking about [a reported £200million] I thought was ridiculous.

"But definitely somebody of that ilk. Harry Kane has been one of the best strikers of his generation, not just in England, across the world. That would be a fantastic coup."

Bosnich made the switch from Aston Villa to United in 2001, having previously played for the club from 1989 to 1991, while Dwight Yorke made the same move in 1998 in a deal that proved pivotal to the Red Devils' treble triumph.

Current Villa Park favourite Jack Grealish has been touted for a similar move and, were United to firm up any interest in the playmaker, it is a situation that would understandably leave Bosnich with mixed emotions.

"I'd be happy for him – from an Aston Villa perspective, no; from a Manchester United perspective, yes," he said.

"I’d be delighted for him if he went. His performances have been outstanding.

"I was so impressed [in 2018] when they lost to Fulham at Wembley in the Championship play-off final. He could have left then and had every right to, but fact that he stayed to help Villa get up really, really impressed me."

Villa are second bottom in the Premier League, two points from safety with 10 games of the suspended season remaining, and Bosnich feels the Birmingham club's fate in that regard remains the prime factor looming over Grealish's future.

"If it happened again and Villa were to go down, he's entitled to leave after staying and doing what he did. He's done a brilliant job for Aston Villa," he added.

"I'm sure the vast majority of supporters would like him to stay but if a player has had his head turned and doesn't want to be there you get the best possible price and go and replace him.

"But the key thing to focus on now for [head coach] Dean Smith, [assistant] John Terry and Jack Grealish is to keep Aston Villa up."

Leroy Sane's move to Bayern Munich appears back on, while Real Madrid are chasing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Sane was linked with a switch to Bayern last close-season but ended up staying at Manchester City.

It appears that move could be back on, while Madrid are maintaining interest in Arsenal star Aubameyang.

 

TOP STORY – SANE IN FRESH BAYERN TALKS

Sane's new agent is in fresh talks with Bayern Munich, according to The Sun.

The Germany attacker was the subject of transfer speculation last before the 2019-20 campaign, but then suffered a serious knee injury in August.

Bild reported on Tuesday that Sane believes he could win the Champions League with Bayern.

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- Real Madrid are interested in Arsenal's Aubameyang, according to Sport. The report says Barcelona are also keen to land the forward if they cannot sign Inter star Lautaro Martinez.

- LaLiga's 'big two' also reportedly want N'Golo Kante. However, Goal report the midfielder wants to stay at Chelsea unless he is forced out.

- With Diego Costa's future uncertain, Atletico Madrid may be looking for a forward. AS report Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette, who is contracted until 2022, is on the list of possible reinforcements for Los Colchoneros.

- Chris Smalling appears likely to return to Manchester United from his loan spell at Roma. Calciomercato believe the Serie A club are already looking at alternatives, with Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen – out of contract at season's end – being considered.

- Olivier Giroud, another player out of contract at the end of the season, seems set to leave Chelsea. La Gazzetta dello Sport claim the striker is looking for a three-year deal from Inter, who were said to be interested in January. The report suggests Inter could offer the Frenchman a two-year contract with a club option for a third.

- Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana and Borussia Dortmund attacker Mario Gotze are set to become free agents. Calciomercato report Milan are unconvinced by Lallana and unwilling to sign Gotze due to his high wages.

Lucas Moura hopes Harry Kane stays at Tottenham, admitting it would be tough to replace the forward.

Kane has been the subject of plenty of transfer speculation after saying last month he would not stay at Spurs "just for the sake of it".

Lucas said Kane, who is linked with a move to Real Madrid, was crucial for Tottenham and he wants the England international to remain at the Premier League club.

"It's hard to speak about the future, about a negotiation because it's a personal decision. I'm sure that every season Tottenham receive offers for Harry Kane," he told Sky Sports.

"It's not me who has to decide, but of course I want to play with him in the next season. I want to stay with him because he's very important for us and it's not easy to find a player like him.

"Everyone knows he's a big player. He's very important for us, he's our striker and scores almost every game. I'm sure that [Jose] Mourinho wants to keep him. He counts on him for the rest of the season as well as for the next one."

The Premier League season was suspended last month due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Spurs sitting eighth in the table.

It remains to be seen when and if the campaign will resume and Lucas is unsure if it will be safe to play, even behind closed doors.

"I don't know, to be honest, if it is safe because maybe I have the virus without having symptoms. Then I can touch a team-mate or a rival [and] spread it and we don't know," he said.

"I'm not sure what is best to do. If it's to play or not to play, play with fans or without, it's a hard situation to decide. I'm not sure it's safe to play even without fans."

Tottenham great Jimmy Greaves has returned home from hospital, where he had been "very ill".

Spurs confirmed last week the 80-year-old had been admitted.

Greaves suffered a stroke in 2015 that left him severely disabled, although his son Danny insisted in February that he remained "in good spirits".

A post on Greaves' official social media pages brought a positive update on Wednesday.

"We are delighted to let you all know that Jimmy is now back at home recuperating with his wife Irene," it read.

"He has been very ill, and we are hoping he will be fine going forward."

The post added: "Thanks to the thousands of you that have sent goodwill messages.

"We love that so many of you still hold Jimmy so dear to your hearts, and it's lovely to know that there is still so much love for him in the world."

Greaves, who also represented Chelsea, Milan and West Ham, scored a record 266 goals for Tottenham between 1961 and 1970 and netted 44 times in 57 appearances for England.

His total of 357 goals in England's top flight is the highest figure in the competition's history.

Liverpool are reportedly looking at Kylian Mbappe in case they lose Sadio Mane to Real Madrid.

Mane has developed into one of the world's best players at Liverpool, leading to apparent interest from Madrid.

But the Premier League leaders are considering a huge signing if the Senegal international does head to the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL CONSIDER MBAPPE IF MANE JOINS REAL MADRID

Madrid are determined to sign Mane and Liverpool are targeting at Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe as a replacement, according to The Sun.

The report says Mane is not pushing for a move away from Anfield and the Reds are keen to see off Madrid.

Mbappe, 21, has been linked with Los Blancos previously, but perhaps Liverpool could land the France international.

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- Staying at Madrid and the Daily Star reports Manchester United are facing a battle with Los Blancos for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, who has been heavily rumoured to be destined for Old Trafford.

- It remains to be seen how Madrid can strengthen their attack this close season. Amid the Spanish club's links to Dortmund forward Erling Haaland, Bild claims the Norway international's opt-out clause at the Bundesliga club does not come into effect until 2022.

- Inter are already negotiating with Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal, according to Sport. It reports Barca are open to letting the Chile international leave and want to include him in a deal for Lautaro Martinez but Inter are refusing that as it stands.

- Staying at Camp Nou and Barcelona are ready to keep Ousmane Dembele, according to Marca. The attacker has been touted for a move away from LaLiga's champions but is seemingly attracting little interest due to his recent injury struggles.

- Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana is reportedly being eyed by PSG and Barcelona, but Premier League clubs are also considering him. The Mirror reports Chelsea and Tottenham are tracking the Cameroon international.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Dries Mertens appears likely to leave Napoli. CalcioMercato says Inter are keen to sign the Belgium forward.

The pause in the football calendar (except in Belarus, of course) gives players across Europe plenty of time to reflect on their efforts so far this season.

While some have a few things to work on when matches return, there are others for whom 2019-20 has been a showcase of the very best they have to offer.

In the latest piece in our series, we look at the best-performing forwards in the Bundesliga, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Premier League and Serie A.

Goals might be the most obvious (and fundamentally important) of metrics for these players, but the number of times the ball crosses that white line is not the only measure of their quality.

To that end, we have also examined seven other parameters: minutes-per-goal rate, shots on target, shooting accuracy, shot conversion rate, big chance conversion rate, dribbles completed and dribble success rate. And these are for those players to make at least 10 league appearances this season, to avoid any unfair imbalance in the results (we're looking at you, Florin Andone).

Without further ado, we present the most ruthless forwards elite-level football in Europe has to offer...

THE MOST RUTHLESS FORWARDS IN EUROPE'S TOP-FIVE LEAGUES 2019-20:

 

BUNDESLIGA:

Most goals scored: Robert Lewandowski (25)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Robert Lewandowski (81.7)
Most shots on target: Robert Lewandowski (55)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Marcus Thuram (76.3 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Paco Alcacer (35.7 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Rouwen Hennings (71.4 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Marcus Thuram (57)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Lucas Alario (83.3 per cent)

LALIGA:

Most goals scored: Lionel Messi (19)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Lionel Messi (99.5)
Most shots on target: Lionel Messi (55)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Lionel Messi (68.9 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Lucas Perez (40.7 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Charles (83.3 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Lionel Messi (118)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Pione Sisto (76.9 per cent)

LIGUE 1:

Most goals scored: Kylian Mbappe and Wissam Ben Yedder (18)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Kylian Mbappe (84.1)
Most shots on target: Kylian Mbappe (49)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Kasper Dolberg (78.1 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Mauro Icardi (37.5 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Moussa Dembele (72.2 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Neymar (90)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Zaydou Youssouf (85.7 per cent)

PREMIER LEAGUE:

Most goals scored: Jamie Vardy (19)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Sergio Aguero (87.6)
Most shots on target: Mohamed Salah (43)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Anthony Martial (68.2 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (36.2 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Harry Kane (70 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Adama Traore (144)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Billy Sharp (86.7 per cent)

SERIE A:

Most goals scored: Ciro Immobile (27)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Luis Muriel (70.2)
Most shots on target: Cristiano Ronaldo (53)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Romelu Lukaku (65.5 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Ante Rebic (42.9 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Felipe Caicedo (85.7 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Jeremie Boga (106)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Sergio Floccari (72.2 per cent)

AND THE TOP EIGHT:

Most goals scored: Ciro Immobile (27)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Luis Muriel (70.2)
Most shots on target: Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski (55)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Kasper Dolberg (78.1 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Ante Rebic (42.9 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Felipe Caicedo (85.7 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Adama Traore (144)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Billy Sharp (86.7 per cent)

Tottenham have reversed the decision to cut the pay of 550 non-playing staff due to the coronavirus pandemic, instead promising to fulfil 100 per cent of their wages for April and May.

In a statement, Tottenham said that only board members would take salary reductions in order to protect the club's financial position, and chairman Daniel Levy expressed regret for the concern caused by the initial decision to furlough staff.

Spurs were one of five Premier League clubs to come in for criticism after taking advantage of the United Kingdom government's furlough scheme, along with Liverpool - who have since reversed their decision - Bournemouth, Norwich City and Newcastle United.

Levy insisted the move was made to protect jobs, saying in a statement on the club's official website: "The criticism the club has received over the last week has been felt all the more keenly because of our track record of good works and our huge sense of responsibility to care for those that rely on us, particularly locally.

"It was never our intent, as custodians, to do anything other than put measures in place to protect jobs whilst the club sought to continue to operate in a self-sufficient manner during uncertain times.

"We regret any concern caused during an anxious time and hope the work our supporters will see us doing in the coming weeks, as our stadium takes on a whole new purpose, will make them proud of their club."

The club announced that equipment has been installed at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to operate "drive-through COVID-19 testing and swabbing for NHS staff, families and their dependents", making it the first Premier League ground to be adapted for such purposes.

The pay of non-playing staff is something the club said it would keep under review, while making no announcement about salaries beyond May.

A statement on the club's official website said: "In these uncertain times, we have to ensure we are in a position to meet our financial obligations and protect the Club's ability to be able to operate when football returns. However, we also need, importantly, to support our wider communities and the NHS. This has been a week when we have worked hard to do both.

"In our last update we said we would keep our position under review, especially in the context of revised budgets and cost-cutting. Having done so we have decided that all non-playing staff, whether full-time, casual or furloughed, will receive 100 per cent of their pay for April and May. Only the board will take salary reductions.

"With no clarity on when football might resume and under what conditions, we shall continue to keep this under on-going review. We should like to thank our staff for their incredible support and understanding."

Harry Kane would fit in with Manchester United's traditions of "historical transfers", according to former captain Gary Neville.

The Red Devils are reportedly interested in signing the Tottenham striker for a fee that could be worth up to a world-record £200million, a sum that would potentially be welcome during the economic uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Although more recent reports have claimed Spurs have no desire to sell Kane to a rival club, it was the forward's own admission during an Instagram live chat that he could consider leaving to challenge for silverware that has prompted the rumours.

Neville believes that was a calculated move by Kane, a player he feels will have been disappointed by Spurs' decision to take advantage of the United Kingdom government's Job Retention Scheme and place staff on furlough.

Neville also thinks United's pursuit of Kane would make sense given their history of signing some of the biggest home-grown stars in the Premier League era.

"It fits Manchester United's historical transfers, going back to Brian Robson, Roy Keane, trying to sign Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney," he told Sky Sports News.

"They were the best or most famous English, British or Irish players in the Premier League and Manchester United tried to sign that player so it does fit with that. Just look at what Manchester United did last summer with Harry Maguire, who was one of the best players on the market.

"In terms of Kane, I did work with him for England. He's a clever lad and he's not somebody who would get caught out if he didn't want to say something. The little opening of the door that he left in that Instagram piece with Jamie [Redknapp] was probably something that had something in it.

"I also don't think Kane would have been that impressed with his club a couple of weeks ago with what they did [using the government's Job Retention Scheme and furloughing staff]. Kane is a good lad, a solid lad and he wouldn't have taken that particularly well and he's probably just poking them back. In my mind, I think he would have been warning them and saying, 'just be careful because I'm watching you and it's not something that we do'."

United have also been heavily linked with Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, who is expected to cost upwards of £100m if he decides to leave the Bundesliga club.

However, Neville does not think it would necessarily be appropriate for Premier League clubs to pursue expensive transfers at a time when there is uncertainty over their finances.

He even believes a transfer embargo should be placed on those sides that bring in wage reductions.

"These transfer discussions, whether it be Harry Kane to United for 200million or Jadon Sancho to City or United for 100million, it completely undermines the discussions the Premier League are having with the players around taking a 30 per cent pay cut," he said.

"Transfers are things the fans love, and we love players moving around, but it does seem to me to be awry when we've got such a behind-the-scenes war going on with respect to players taking cuts, the clubs needing support, and then in the next breath you've got a £200million transfer speculation going on.

"That doesn't feel right to me. Premier League clubs can't stop the speculation, but there's no smoke without fire. I would suggest the Premier League to stop this would probably put a transfer embargo in place on all clubs that are looking to reduce their players' wages.

"That would take away a lot of the angst that is existing among the players behind the scenes who feel they're having the wool pulled over their eyes by the clubs."

Harry Kane's future continues to make headlines.

Since saying he would not stay at Tottenham "for the sake of it" in his pursuit of silverware, Kane has been linked to Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Now, Spurs have reportedly named their fee for the England international.

 

TOP STORY – TOTTENHAM SET KANE PRICE

Tottenham will allow star striker Harry Kane to leave for £200million, according to the Daily Mail.

Kane has been heavily linked to Premier League rivals Manchester United and LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

Spurs are reportedly keen on some extra funds amid the coronavirus pandemic.

ROUND-UP

Lautaro Martinez to Barcelona? Not necessarily. The Sun claims Manchester City are favourites to sign the Inter forward, despite the Argentina international being tipped to move to Camp Nou.

- Fabrizio Romano says Juventus will consider moving for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic if they are unsuccessful in their pursuit of United star Paul Pogba. Brescia's Sandro Tonali and Gaetano Castrovilli of Fiorentina are also on the list.

Barca are desperate to strengthen their squad. Martinez is the priority up front for the LaLiga champions, but Mundo Deportivo says they want more. Barca are eyeing a midfielder, with Napoli star Fabian Ruiz and Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele being considered. The Catalan giants are also looking for a central defender and have been linked to City centre-back Aymeric Laporte, Dayot Upamecano of Leipzig and Sevilla's Diego Carlos.

Inter are interested in Bayern Munich midfielder Corentin Tolisso, reports Calciomercato. The Frenchman is also being followed by United and Arsenal.

- Signing Mauro Icardi remains the main objective for Juve, according to Calciomercato. The Serie A champions are keen to sign a striker amid links to Inter's Icardi, who is on loan at Paris Saint-Germain. Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, Timo Werner of RB Leipzig, City forward Gabriel Jesus, Arkadiusz Milik of Napoli, Lyon's Moussa Dembele and Kane are also on Juve's radar.

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