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Man City convinced over Kane deal after refusing to enter Messi stakes

Manchester City remain convinced they will sign Tottenham’s Harry Kane – even if a deal cannot be struck before the start of the season.

The England captain remains Pep Guardiola’s top target, with the Premier League champions refusing to enter negotiations for Lionel Messi as they focus their attentions on a potential £150million deal.

Despite being given little encouragement from Spurs, City believe Kane will be their player by the time the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

Spurs are working on a deal for Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez, who is rated at £60m, although club sources insists any new forward would be a potential partner for Kane, rather than a replacement.

Kane’s decision to issue a statement on Friday after missing pre-season training last week was seen by some as the first signs of him backtracking in his bid to secure a move to the Premier League champions.

But City have long expected negotiations to be protracted – and their decision to abandon long-standing interest in Messi is evidence of their confidence that Kane will end up at the Etihad.

Guardiola took the unusual step on Friday of openly declaring his determination to sign the 28-year-old, saying: “If Tottenham don’t want to negotiate it is finished. If they want to negotiate, many clubs would like to sign him, we are not an exception. We are very interested in him.”

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While it is accepted that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will drive a hard bargain for his prize asset, City remain relaxed about letting negotiations carry on into the start of the season.

They face Spurs on Sunday in their opening game of the campaign, with Guardiola admitting his players are not ready for the start of their title defence after Saturday’s 1-0 Community Shield defeat by Leicester.

Kane belatedly returned to Spurs on Saturday and is isolating at the Player Lodge on the club’s Enfield training base until Thursday, when he can rejoin group training if he returns a negative Covid test.

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