It’s hard to imagine it now, but there was a time early on in his career when Harry Kane was being forced to contend with the ‘one season wonder’ tag after a sluggish start to his second full-season in the Tottenham Hotspur first-team.

Kane, of course, would go on to dispel such doubters over a remarkable eight-year spell, establishing himself as arguably the most feared number nine in the Premier League, if not the whole of European football.

And Khvicha Kvaratskhelia could do worse than to take inspiration from the England captain as he too looks to prove that his form is not merely temporary, his class permanent.

According to the Daily Mail’s Mike Keegan, there is interest from Manchester United in the reigning Serie A Player of the Year; a man nicknamed ‘Kvaradona’ after helping fire Napoli to their first Scudetto since the days of a certain magical Argentine.

Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images

Manchester United like Napoli’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

Kvaratskhelia is, in many ways, the antithesis of the modern football superstar.

A relative unknown when he arrived from Georgian football to limited fanfare in 2022 – Leeds United, funnily enough, one of the few clubs alert to his talents – Kvaratskhelia did not graduate with flying colours from one of Europe’s most esteemed finishing schools, but his lack of elite-level academy coaching is arguably to his benefit.

Few players are as refreshingly unpredictable as the wildcard wideman; his mercurial, snake-hipped magnificence a refreshing, almost bold-school throwback in a game filled with ‘pass completion’ obsessives and forwards who appear more interested in ‘ball-retention’ than creating goalscoring chances.

“Kvaratskhelia is among the top three wingers,” Napoli team-mate Stanislav Lobotka argues. “With Vinicius Junior and Kylian Mbappe.”

“He’s a great guy,” adds Victor Osimhem; striking up arguably Europe’s most fearsome attacking partnership with Napoli’s bargain £9 million signing. “I realised that immediately.

“Everyone loves him in the dressing room. Not only for what he does on the pitch but also for what he does off it. I believe he can win the Ballon d’Or in the next few years.”

Kvaratskhelia’s form is a worry

Kvaratskhelia would, therefore, maintain a proud tradition of electrifying Manchester United wingers. A player in the mould of a Ryan Giggs or an Andrei Kanchelskis, rather than the eternally-frustrating Jadon Sancho.

But with Napoli demanding a reported £90 million – and having failed to find the net in his last 16 club appearances in all competitions while providing only two assists – Kvaratskhelia must first channel his inner-Harry Kane and prove that last season’s remarkable purple match is sustainable rather than a white-hot flash in the pan.