LONDON -- Tottenham head coach Nuno Espirito Santo says he has not spoken to Harry Kane with the Spurs striker yet to report for preseason training as he attempts to force through a transfer to Manchester City.
Nuno did his best to dodge any questions over Kane's future in a tense press conference after Spurs' 2-2 friendly draw with Chelsea on Wednesday, insisting that he wanted to keep any conversations off the vice captain and talismanic forward. Kane was due at Hotspur Way on Monday for fitness tests ahead of the new season but has not yet joined up with his club.
Kane wants to join City and believes he has a gentleman's agreement with chairman Daniel Levy that will allow him to move to the Etihad Stadium. For their part Spurs rejected one offer of $139 million from City in June. Kane is expected to return to training before the end of the week -- though there are doubts as to whether he will be available for the season opener against City -- but so far he has had no contact with his head coach.
Nuno said: "I expect to speak with Harry soon. I didn't have the chance yet. Anything in relation to Harry is internal. We have to solve the problems ourselves."
That was the line Nuno endeavored to stick to throughout a press conference dominated by talk over Kane's future rather than the fightback from two goals down to earn Spurs a draw at Stamford Bridge. That did not sit well with the first-year Tottenham boss, who initially refused to answer a question on the striker, instead asking journalists if they had watched the game.
It was put to him that he as simply not addressing what is shaping up to be the defining story of Spurs' season even before it has begun. "It's not that I don't want to comment," Nuno said when pressed further about Kane. "What I believe is this issue in relation to Harry, we should discuss internally. Try to avoid any kind of public argument or discussion about it. Us, we have to focus on what is important. We have to solve the situation."
With Kane unavailable, Nuno was forced to move Heung-min Son to center forward with youngsters such as Dane Scarlett his only other options for a preseason friendly that, in keeping with the trend over this summer, was played at a level of intensity that seemed to be informed by the return of crowds to English football. Though these games are still more about fitness than performance it would be fair to say that a draw flattered Spurs, who in the first half in particular had no answer for the dynamism of N'Golo Kante and Hakim Ziyech, who scored both Chelsea goals either side of halftime.
A deflected effort from Lucas Moura and a Steven Bergwijn shot through Edouard Mendy's legs earned parity for Spurs but without the likes of Kane, Giovanni Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele, Nuno's squad looked rather limited in terms of moving the ball into dangerous areas. However their head coach warned of challenges in strengthening his playing staff.
"Spurs are always working very hard on that [recruitment] aspect," said Nuno. "I truly believe that it's very hard to improve our squad. We have very talented, good players.
"Our squad needs to be balanced but it has to be with quality, with something we don't have."