Pep Guardiola has confirmed Manchester City are “very interested” in Harry Kane but accepts Tottenham may not be prepared to sell their talismanic captain.
Premier League champions City want to add the England skipper to their squad following their British record £100 million (€118 million) capture of Jack Grealish this week.
Kane, for his part, has made clear his desire to leave Spurs and has not reported back for pre-season training this week.
Spurs, however, remain reluctant to sell a player they reportedly value at £160 million (€188 million).
City have already said they would never pay that figure for the 28-year-old and Guardiola admits a deal would be difficult to conclude.
The City manager said: “He is a player for Tottenham Hotspur. If Tottenham don’t want to negotiate, it is finished.
“If they are open to negotiate, it is not only Man City but many clubs in the world would want to try to sign him. We are not an exception.
“But it depends on Tottenham. It is different from Jack, Jack had a release clause.
“Harry Kane is an exceptional, extraordinary striker. There are no doubts about that. Of course we are very interested.
“But he is a Tottenham player. If they don’t want to negotiate there is nothing more to say. If they want it, we will try.”
Guardiola has also played down the suggestion City could sign Lionel Messi following the announcement that the six-time world player of the year is to leave Barcelona.
City were heavily linked with the Argentinian last summer but a deal did not materialise and Guardiola, who won the Champions League with Messi whilst at Barca, says they now have other plans.
He said: “We were incredibly convinced with Jack Grealish and we were convinced Leo would continue at Barcelona. Right now he is not in our thoughts, absolutely not.”
Eyebrows have been raised over how City can afford Grealish and still be in the market for further players whilst complying with Financial Fair Play regulations.
Guardiola, speaking at a press conference to preview the Community Shield against Leicester on Saturday, addressed this issue.
Money has already been brought in this summer with the sales of fringe and non first-team players while Manchester United’s purchase of Jadon Sancho yielded a bonus of £11 million (€13 million) courtesy of a sell-on clause.
Guardiola said: “When we could spend this, it’s because we’ve sold (players) for almost £60 million (€71 million).
“We could not afford it in the last 13 or 14 months (but) when you sell for £60 million you can afford £100 million, otherwise it could not have been possible.”
The departures may also not end there, with Guardiola confirming reports that there are players, including playmaker Bernardo Silva, that would like to leave the club.
He said: “Not just Bernardo – there are two, three or four players that want to leave, but they are our players under contract.
“We are open to discuss absolutely everything but it depends on them. Otherwise, they will continue training really well, they will stay here and I will decide if they stay or don’t stay.
“We don’t want anyone here unsatisfied but (we) have to bring someone (else in). Otherwise, they will stay here.”
For now, Guardiola is looking forward to working with Grealish.
He said: “He can play up front, mainly on the left side, but can play as a winger, an attacking midfielder, a striker – many positions with his quality.
“We don’t have any doubts he’ll help the way we play. He made an exceptional contribution at Aston Villa, he did amazingly there, and he and can get to another level with us.”