Owen Hargreaves (England)
This man needs no introduction to any adult-aged Bayern fans. Growing up in 1980s Canada, his heroes were not the likes of Ian Rush and Gary Lineker – rather he idolized men such as Michael Jordan. But it clearly did him no harm, and in 1997, he joined a club desperate to reclaim its former greatness after two straight seasons where they had fallen short of the title.
Many others might have been lured away during the three years Hargreaves spent building a reputation within youth and reserve sides. But he hid any possible frustrations well and persevered. He would be rewarded well, as Bayern was once more Germany’s undisputed kings by the time he finally made his Bundesliga debut at the start of 2000/01.
A maiden senior England call-up in 2001 would confirm him as Bayern’s first true Englishman, and the rest is history. Hargreaves was a rock in the middle of the park, providing defensive cover and playmaking in equal measure. He did his part to get Bayern a Bundesliga and UCL double in 2000/01, while the following two seasons would each see the Reds concede just 25 league goals – the club’s best defensive performances this century until 2007/08.
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With Hargreaves having played in a totally different position to Kane – while also joining the club as a teen, rather than the 30-something Kane would be – some very creative thinking is once again needed when it comes to making comparisons. Yet, one thing that does ring true is the call for Kane to demonstrate the sort of patience Hargreaves did in the late 1990s.
After all, there is no guarantee that Kane will hit the ground running if his Bayern move comes to fruition. Only in 2018 did he break a personal ‘curse’ of never scoring in August, and it’s something that will doubtless be dredged up back on English shores if he arrives and then fails to breach Leipzig, Bremen, or Augsburg’s defense during the hottest month of the campaign.