I’m a little surprised that Luka Modric has felt compelled to try and worm his way out of Tottenham. All evidence suggests that he’s a decent little chap, not hugely motivated by money in a Carlos Tevez-type way and, at a still-relatively young age, has plenty of time to make his mark in world football.
But his blabbing to the Daily Mail on Friday was hugely disappointing.
“Chelsea are a big club with an ambitious owner. They have great players and they have ambitions to fight for the title and win the Champions League. I want to leave Tottenham as friends. I have enjoyed my time there, but now it is right for me to look at another club. I have an arrangement with the chairman. When I signed my new contract, he said that, if another club came to sign me, they would consider the offer.”
If Luka is genuinely unhappy then Spurs would risk unsettling the squad if they forced him to stick around. Just look at the Berbatov mess from 2008. Cesc Fabregas and Barcelona flirt with each other every year, but the almost-guaranteed Champions League football and the persuasive Professor manage to convince Cesc to stick around for just one more year.
Spurs don’t really have an equivalent persuasion. You think Modric can be lured by Europa League games against Sligo Rovers or the promise of some jellied eels from ‘Arry?
So who’s to blame the most for what could become an unseemly squabble this summer?
To hear the little man signed a six year deal on £40k a week was a surprise. Didn’t he think that wasn’t a great deal of money in the scheme of things? I mean Robbie Keane – a player Tottenham have been trying to offload for two years – is reportedly on £60k a week. Ok Luka’s made an unsubstantiated claim that Levy promised to entertain any bids for him but if it’s not written in to the contract that it’s not worth the paper it’s not written on. I know in the real world of football, players and agents are happy to sign the contracts knowing that they can simply request a move and cause a ruckus if it’s not granted.
But I have little sympathy for a player who willingly signs a long-term deal that makes them a millionaire and then shows total disdain for the fans that – and yes I’m going to say it – pays his wages. Does the contract have a get-out clause if Spurs fail to finish in the top four or if a bid of £30m comes in? If not then shame on you and your agent. I mean you signed it twelve months ago.
Luka definitely deserves a pay rise but what’s the point in, say, doubling his wages when Chelsea can triple them.
Perhaps if ‘Arry had guided Spurs in to the top four then there would be nothing to discuss. I’ve cut Redknapp some slack in the last year or so because, you know, fair play, he has achieved something. But when you can’t beat flipping West Ham, Birmingham, Wolves, Wigan and Blackpool then you deserve criticism. The standard last year was brutal yet Spurs made a total mess of it. And I’m sure Luka is looking at Redknapp’s squad building (basically the signing of some fairly old people) and thinking ‘we haven’t got any chance next season’.
Daniel has come out with his usual ‘not for sale at any price’ quote (pretty sure he said that about Berbatov). While he has no choice but to say that, it does of course leave him somewhat exposed: Chelsea raise their bid, Luka and his agent dig their heels in, he relents. Everyone has a price and it’s ridiculous to suggest they don’t. But it’s a rock/hard place scenario for him. He can’t signal an intent to sell as that will fuel Luka’s conviction to go. He’s probably trying to buy some time while he figures out if Luka can be sweet-talked in to staying for another twelve months, perhaps on the back of a renegotiated contract with a release clause. But if that doesn’t happen then he’s going to look a bit silly.
Nothing we can do about it. They want stories so players have to be unsettled in order to get those stories. There’s only so much interest in Wayne Rooney’s transplant or Jack Rodwell’s insanity. They’re doing their job and they do it without any fear of reprisal (apart from maybe being banned by Fergie for asking a polite question). Nothing has to be substantiated and they answer to nobody. It’s insane. Once the Modric thing is done and dusted, they’ll start offering Gareth Bale to Inter.
I say that every player has his price and Chelsea seem to think it’s £22m. Well they probably don’t but it’s as good a place to start as any. Harry made the humorous comparison to Jordan Henderson – the curiously expensive transfer from Sunderland to Liverpool – suggesting, indirectly, that he’s not fit to lace Luka’s boots. A bit vulgar and unfair perhaps, but it underlines what just about everyone at Spurs probably thinks. You spend £16.5m on a player, a player that is then widely regarded as one of the best midfielders in the league, you expect to make some serious money on him.
If Modric does go I expect it will be for about £30-35m. Do I think he’s worth it? To Spurs, yes. To someone else, probably not. He’s a lovely footballer but he’s not a match-winner. He doesn’t score goals and he usually plays too deep to open up defences. Now perhaps he can adapt to a more forward role but that’s an unknown.
If Spurs do get that sort of money for him then they would have to take it. Let’s just hope ‘Arry doesn’t pull “another” masterstroke and replace him with that tortoise, Carrick.