Oh dear Luka Modric. What have you done? Tottenham Hotspur fans know you want out, but a refusal to travel with the team to America for the pre-season tour? Tut-tut. After last summer’s debacle, first handing in a transfer request before insisting you couldn’t play as ‘your head wasn’t in the right place’, is just embarrassing.
The refusal to train is almost Dimitar Berbatov-esc, and we all know how that turned out in 2008. When all is said and done, Modric has been particularly juvenile in his attempts to leave White Hart Lane. Remaining at one club for four years, granted, is a long time in modern football, especially with the promise of an increased weekly pay-packet a determining factor with any player.
Yet, only one season of Champions League football in four isn’t enough for a player of Modric’s calibre. The Croatian is, let’s face it, a prized Spurs asset. On his day, there are few that can better, or even match, his quality in the centre of the park. However, he has to understand that he isn’t bigger than the club; no player is. With that in mind, there are really two possible outcomes to a second successive Modric saga, which will end one way or another.
Keep him at the club
Chairman Daniel Levy made it clear last summer that Modric wasn’t for sale at any price, regardless of the lack of Champions League football. Despite his best attempts to force through his move, handing in a transfer request and guilt trip Levy, the Spurs supremo didn’t budge. Chelsea came in with three bids of £22m, £25m and £40, but still; nothing.
As it was, Modric remained at Spurs for the season and made 40 appearances for all competitions as they finished fourth, missing out on Champions League football next season due to Chelsea’s heroics in Munich. It is the lack of competing with Europe’s elite that has seen the 26-year-old want to move from North London this summer for pastures new.
After failing to turn up for the flight to America for Spurs’ pre-season tour, Modric has since returned to the club’s Chigwell training ground, but has been forced to train with the reserves/youth team. Many are of the opinion that the diminutive schemer should remain there and forced to see out the remainder of his contract, which isn’t set to expire until 2016.
The term ‘rot in the reserves’ has been batted around on Twitter and Spurs forums as fans look for a way to punish the Croatian. However, keeping him at the club could have a detrimental effect in the dressing room, much like the Berbatov saga. The club slipped to bottom of the Premier League following the ongoing fiasco, something that would be best avoided ahead of the new season.
Of course, the other option is to sell him. Modric was expected to depart last summer, having missed out on Champions League football the first time round. Nevertheless, any move failed to materialise, with Levy standing firm in order to keep hold of the Croatia international, despite a lengthy pursuit by Chelsea to snare him away from White Hart Lane.
However, the chances of holding onto Modric this summer is slim, at best. Levy agreed last year that should Spurs fail to reach the Champions League again, then the club would agree to sell. As mentioned, keeping a player at the club against his will could have an adverse effect on the club rather than severely punish the midfielder.
Real Madrid are the clear favourites for the diminutive schemer, despite interest from Paris St. Germain and Manchester United. Reports emanating from Croatia, and in particular Dynamo Zagreb director of football Zoran Mamic, suggest a deal will be completed tomorrow to take Modric to the Spanish capital for a fee of €44.7m. If that is the case, then it is good business by Spurs, who signed the 16-year-old for £16m back in the summer of 2008.
Personally, selling him would be the best option for Levy to take. Modric has given Spurs four years of consistent service and despite a shaky start to life in England, has emerged as one of the game’s best midfielders. With the money that will be made (around £35m), the financial boost can be used to strengthen the squad elsewhere, including bringing in a replacement for the former Dynamo star.
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