It all seemed done and dusted a few weeks ago, yet now for the second year running it looks like Luka Modric will start the football season with his immediate future unknown. This time last year, Modric pushed for a move, and was surprised to find the Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy refusing to sell him—even when the price went up to £35m. After a period of sulking, Modric accepted his fate, and put in a decent effort, helping Spurs to finish 4th.
This year, it was supposed to be completely different. Word was out that Real Madrid wanted him and what Real want, they generally get. They have money to spend, and unlike last year, when Chelsea were the suitors—Madrid are not an immediate competitor to Spurs. Spurs missed out on Champions League qualifications, and surely would be willing to cash in on Modric. Wrong again.
Today, Modric is apparently meeting Levy for showdown/crunch/final talk (pick your own footballing cliché). Modric will once again ask Levy to let him leave for a lower transfer fee, and once again Levy will almost certainly say no. Spurs are said to be holding out for £40m and Madrid are reluctant to go above £30m.
I’m not sure why Modric thought things would be any different this time around. Levy is known for playing hardball, even when it seems to everyone else that £30m for Modric is a decent fee (and a substantial profit on their £16.5m outlay). Not long ago, Modric signed a long-term contract extension with Spurs—meaning Levy has more leverage in this situation than Modric does.
Spurs manager Andre Villas Boas is wisely siding with his chairman on this matter. Presumably he saw what happened to his predecessor, Harry Redknapp, when you publicly argue with Levy, and I’m guessing he would also be happy to get his hands on £30-£40m of spending money. After last season’s wranglings and a poor start to the season, Spurs fans were happy to forgive Modric for wanting out, but I’m guessing this time around they wont be quite so forgiving.
Modric has put himself in a corner. He’s possibly burned his bridges with his current club, and his potential new club would like to have him, but not that much.
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