London - Gary Lineker has told Tottenham Hotspur they risk losing star striker Harry Kane if they fail to mount a credible challenge for major titles, saying the London club need to "decide what they are".
Boyhood Tottenham fan Kane rose through the ranks at White Hart Lane and the 24-year-old has now scored 128 goals in 194 appearances for Spurs and in the process surpassed Teddy Sheringham as the club's record goalscorer in the Premier League.
Kane has also been the leading Premier League goalscorer for each of the past two seasons and so far tis term averages a goal a game.
Tottenham, however, have not won a major trophy since they last lifted the English League Cup a decade ago and many of their fans fear that Kane could leave if that lack of silverware continues this season.
Former Spurs and England forward Lineker said Tottenham didn't just have to match the wages on offer at Europe's leading clubs but their ambitions as well, otherwise there was every chance Kane could follow the example of Gareth Bale, who left to join Real Madrid in a then world-record deal worth some 85 million ($121 million, 97 million euros) in 2013.
"I think Tottenham have to decide what they are," Lineker told Britain's Press Association on Thursday.
"I think if they want to keep the likes of Kane and (Dele) Alli, their star players, they'll have to pay the going rate, or get close to it and they'll also have to bring players in and challenge for titles because the great players want to win things, they want to be at places where they can do that.
"I suspect Harry Kane, he'd love that to happen, I think that would be his preference."
Nevertheless Lineker, promoting the It's a Penalty campaign which aims to prevent the abuse, exploitation and trafficking of children from across the world, said Spurs could nor rely on Kane's childhood loyalties alone.
"If Tottenham don't show the same ambition perhaps as one or two of the players, then they'll get a little bit disgruntled and they might seek different areas and different places to play, so it's a bit of a watershed moment for Tottenham."
Lineker, now the presenter of the BBC's long-running Match of the Day football television programme, arrived at Spurs following a three-year spell with Spanish giants Barcelona.
The 57-year-old, who moved to the Nou Camp from Everton, said Kane would find it hard to resist an approach from one of Europe's major clubs.
"When those big boys come calling, it's quite difficult.
"It depends on your personality and what you want out of life and where you want to go, so we've all got different circumstances so we'll have to wait and see."
Spurs, fifth in the Premier League 20 points adrift of Manchester City, are at fourth-tier Newport City on Saturday in the FA Cup fourth round.