Tottenham Hotspur

The Tottenham players who refused to train to seal moves aways

Jude Summerfield
Kane is trying to force a move away from Tottenham
Kane is trying to force a move away from Tottenham / Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

So, it's come to this.

For many years, Harry Kane trying to leave Tottenham seemed unthinkable. He was the golden boy. The player who summed up everything good about the club. The striker so unbelievably good that Spurs would have to fail pretty cataclysmicly not to enjoy some modicum of success.

To some degree, they have succeeded. They were never Champions League regulars before he broke onto the scene, and certainly wouldn't have been tipped to reach the final of that competition or genuinely challenge for the Premier League title without him.

The chance came with Kane leading a brilliant squad, but Tottenham have since regressed and a seventh placed finish just won't cut it for England's captain anymore. He's played his first hand, which was skipping training, though there has since been some backtracking from his camp over how far he intended to go with that tactic.

But it's not the first time we've such a strategy employed at the north London club. Here's what we can learn from some old cases.

1. Dimitar Berbatov

Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane
Berbatov was part of the last Spurs team to win any silverware / Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Berbatov understandably has no regrets in leaving Spurs for Manchester United back in 2008. In fact, he talks about it quite a lot.

Before Tottenham lost the League Cup final to Manchester City in April, the Bulgarian compared his career to Kane's at the same point, claiming his own triumph in that competition only strengthened his desire to leave to pursue more glory.

He sat out two of Spurs' opening three games at the beginning of the 2008/09 season and eventually got his dream move to United, where we won two Premier League titles, a Club World Cup and another League Cup.

Negotiations were drawn out and Tottenham eventually brought in Roman Pavlyuchenko before Berbatov was finally sent to Old Trafford.

2. Luka Modric

Luka Modric
Modric simply outgrew Tottenham / Michael Regan/Getty Images

In hindsight, Tottenham should have got much more than the £30m they snared from Real Madrid in 2012, given he's a Ballon d'Or winner these days.

That move to Spain came a year after Spurs held off giving into Modric's wish to join Chelsea. Harry Redknapp and Tottenham were adamant he was not for sale.

He missed a few games at the start of that season as he wasn't in the right frame of mind, even stating his desire to leave for Stamford Bridge.

In 2012, he would skip training and failed to show up for the club's pre-season tour of the United States to really drive the message home. That £30m move to Real was eventually confirmed and he has since enjoyed great success at the Santiago Bernabeu.

3. Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale
Bale was a world star when he left for Real Madrid / Ian Walton/Getty Images

Sure, Bale did eventually make a return to Spurs when he needed some regular football before Euro 2020, but his first spell didn't end particularly amicably.

The Wales legend skipped training in August 2013 after his finest individual season at White Hart Lane, netting 21 goals and adding four more assists in the Premier League.

But his move to Real Madrid stalled as Levy wasn't keen on the Spanish side's plan to pay the then world record £86m move in instalments. Real had also accidentally advertised Bale shirts online and built a stage to unveil him at the Bernabeu before Spurs had actually agreed to the deal on their end.

Back then, Bale only had eyes for Real, and he was quite publically their number one target that summer, so the deal always seemed likely to materialise.

Skipping training while he was also injured did the trick and in September he was officially announced as a Real player.

4. Harry Kane

Harry Kane
Has Kane played his last game for Tottenham? / Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

In reality Tottenham have been marching towards the eventuality of Kane demanding to leave for a few years now.

The lack of a squad refresh, a few managerial missteps and some botched cup final appearances; whatever you want to pin it on, Spurs haven't managed to match Kane's ambition after a few title challenges in 2015/16 and 2016/17.

But how much leverage does Kane have when he still has three years left to run on his contract? That's where the absenteeism from training comes into play, as it may force Levy into making an uncomfortable decision.

Right now, the club remain insistent they will not sell to a domestic rival like Manchester City - 'rival' being an interesting way of seeing things given City's recent domestic dominance.

The chat is now that, having missed a few days of pre-season, Kane is expected to return later this week, believing the situation has been 'blown out of proportion'.

You know what would make the whole thing a little easier? If Man City simply made an improved offer suitable to Kane's value. But right now, it's all just a bit of a shambles, and a saga that doesn't look like ending ending time soon.