I love and loathe the transfer window. A love-hate relationship, if you will. I enjoy the rumours linking Tottenham Hotspur with big name players, the ITK titbits that can be passed on and the speculation reporting a big money move for a player of the highest quality. For some, the transfer window is exceptional.
But then there is the reason I hate it. I hate it because Spurs are regularly perceived as the little boy in the big man’s world. The runt of the litter that is easy to push around. Steve Rogers before he is transformed into Captain America. Whenever a player shines for the North London side, the media speculate which club will pinch said player from the Spurs ranks and no matter how hard a fight they put up, it always ends in defeat.
That was until last summer. Chelsea wanted Luka Modric and, like many-a-time in the past, ala Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Carrick, when the big team wants, the big teams gets. Chelsea offered £22m; Daniel Levy rejected. £25m; again Levy laughed in the face of Ron Gourlay and co. Then finally, on deadline day, the Blues made a sizeable £40m bid for the diminutive schemer. Levy looked and flirted with the idea; ‘£40m in the coffers?’ he must of that, but after careful consideration, told Chelsea, in no polite way ‘thanks, but no thanks’.
Cries of success echoed around North London. ‘Modric is staying!’ cried fans from the rooftops. At last, had Spurs learnt to stand up to the big boys? Had the North London side learnt to say no? Had the Lilywhites finally transformed from puny Steve Rogers to the first Avenger, Captain America? This summer will give us a definitive answer.
A summer free of Modric rumours? It can’t be?
Probably because it isn’t. Once again, having failed to reach the highly rewarding Champions League, the dynamic duo of Modric and Gareth Bale have, once again, been linked with big money moves away from White Hart Lane. Much like last summer when the two were supposedly off for pastures, deceptively less, green than the ones on show around N17.
Again, Chelsea have shown an interest, along with Manchester United and Real Madrid for the Croatian dynamo, whilst Bale has seen his name linked with a move to either Real or Barcelona. Levy is reported to have sent a strongly written letter to those enquiring about the Welsh wing wizard, effectively, reading ‘not for sale’ despite claiming he will be forced to discuss his future should Spurs failed to reach the promised land.
A new contract for Bale has been reported today, which is a good thing considering his current deal doesn’t expire for another two-and-a-half years. However, it will aid in warding off interest from a number of Europe’s heavyweights and help with Spurs’ pursuit of bigger name player’s, that is of course, if he opts to sign it.
Modric, like Bale, is currently tied down a deal that won’t expire until the summer of 2016, an extra months compared to the latter’s, meaning Levy won’t be forced into selling should any team come calling, at least not yet anyway. Rumours have been rife regarding a new 100k-a-week contract for the midfielder, who was unwilling to sign unless Spurs secured Champions League football next season.
Even prior to the club’s top four finish, the body language of the playmaker had been of that of someone who wants to play elsewhere. He hasn’t been performing to his usual high standards, something that is unlikely to deter potential suitors, while news that he isn’t willing to discuss his future until the culmination of Euro 2012 will either go one of two ways; Modric either lights up the tournament, plays a starring role for Croatia that see’s his stock rise massively or, he performs so, so badly that every team across Europe wants nothing to do with him and instead launch a £40m bid for Niko Kranjcar, who himself plays a starring role.
Spurs can’t do without Modric, can they?
Well, yes and no. A player that wants out of a club is about as useful as a chocolate teapot and, let’s face it; no player is bigger than the club, unless that player is Eden Hazard who is, in effect, the footballing equivalent of Jesus. If Modric wants out, then so be it. Let him go. Player’s come and go and as good as the 26-year-old is, it isn’t his god given right to believe he is bigger than Spurs.
However, Modric has been central to a majority of anything attacking wise in the last two years for Spurs. His influence in the middle of park would be sorely missed should he depart the club, and he is a central part to the midfield, but, should he be sold, the club will still move forward without him because, as previously mentioned, no player is bigger than Spurs. It happened with Carrick and Berbatov and there is no reason it could happen again, should Levy decide to sell.
Who can replace him?
With Kranjcar likely to depart this summer, finding a replacement for Modric could be easier or harder than originally anticipated. A possible swap deal with Real involving Mr No Like Chicken Badge and Lassana Diarra has been mooted and even though they are two different types of midfielders, a Premier League experienced midfielder in return wouldn’t be detrimental.
An attack minded player in the middle of the park would be ideal, however, and a number of names have been mooted, including Ajax star Christian Eriksen, one of either Ezequiel Lavezzi or Marek Hamsik from Napoli or Douglas Costa from Shakhtar Donetsk are all midfielders that could replace the Croatian at White Hart Lane.
Either way, should Modric indeed leave; a big money move for a midfielder will need to be made, more specifically, one who can control the tempo of the game. Naturally, if Spurs have really come along over the past 18-24 months of transfer dealings, then Levy won’t need to sell. But, if Modric decides to torment the fans like he did last summer, it may well be wise no retain him.
Refusing to play, transfer requests and shambolic performances may have been put with once in the past, but to do so again would be completely unforgiveable. Those who want out claim it’s because of Champions League football but, if they wanted to play in the competition so bad, they shouldn’t have contributed to the horrific run between February and May. Either way though, there are player’s more than capable of replacing Modric if Spurs do receive an offer that is too good to turn for the midfielder.