As I write, Luka Modric is involved in a tug-of-war between Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid. He cost Spurs approx £16.5m in 2008. Since then, he’s been at the heart of all that they have achieved (or nearly achieved). Spurs turned down a rumoured £40m bid from Chelsea last year, but if the rumour mill is to be believed, Modric will go to Madrid for something between £30m and £37m in the next few weeks. The question for me that begs to be asked is “why”?
No doubt, he’s a tidy footballer–quick of foot and brain–but is he really worth the continued attention of one of the richest and most ambitious clubs in the world? If you take a look at his stats, either at Spurs or for Croatia, you see a play-maker who has good pass accuracy, but precious little assists or goals (in the 2010/11 season—3 assists and 2 goals). He is a better tackler than his size suggests, but he is one paced, and often goes missing for extended periods.
It could be that he’s a great player in need of a great club, and that at Madrid, his talent will be fully realised—certainly with Sahin and Granero possibly out of favour, he may get a regular place in the first XI. But you can’t help and wonder if he is what Madrid needs? Is he going to push Kaká or Özil? He’s not as tricky as the former or as deadly as the latter, so what can he offer that Los Merengues don’t already have.
I can’t help but think that Modric is a very good player with an excellent agent. I suspect Daniel Levy knows it, too. Spurs coach André Villas Boas must believe he can get by without him and that maybe £35m to spend is a better deal. Spurs have other midfielders, and if they can get Moutinho for around £20m, they might not miss him that much.