Modric is being courted by Real Madrid but Tottenham refuse to budge on their asking price. THT points out how Spurs could have handled the transfer request better.
The Luka Modric transfer saga just refuses to end. It reminds us a lot about the Cesc Fabregas transfer last year. The Croatian finds himself in the same situation as he was at this point last year. Only the interested club has changed to Real Madrid from Chelsea. While it is pretty clear, Modric wishes to leave Tottenham Hotspur, as he wished last year, it is still unclear if he will make this move at least this year.
This deal hinges on only one detail and that is money. Daniel Levy wants a £40m deal for his most prized possession. While PSG are rumored to be ready to pay the necessary amount, Modric is interested to move only to Real Madrid, who are offering only £31m including add-ins. While Florentino Perez refuses to budge from his offering, Levy is clearly fishing for more.
Last year Chelsea offered £40m and Modric handed in a transfer request. But, Tottenham Hotspur refused to entertain any deals for Modric. The Croatian tried hard to move but failed in his endeavours and had to be content with playing for Spurs. He never complained and gave it his all and led Spurs to a fourth place finish in the Premier League, a Champions’ League spot, if Chelsea would not have had the coveted trophy. This year, Real Madrid have come calling. And, he is their only big transfer target.
From Modric’s perspective, he stayed put last year to help Spurs vie for the Champions’ League spot after lengthy conversations with both Redknapp and Levy. When the League started, Modric was still nor ready to compete. Harry Redknapp was brutally frank when he admitted that the Croat was not in the right frame of mind. But, as a couple of weeks passed by, Modric came back and played as he always does, as if nothing had happened. He put the transfer period behind him and demonstrated his professionalism. It is this professionalism and a gesture of goodwill which Modric thought would be taken into account when Real Madrid came calling. But, it was not meant to be.
On the other side of London, a similar story emerged. Robin van Persie came out with a statement stating that his future lay else where forcing himself into the transfer market. Arsenal and Arsene Wenger were caught off guard but they did not panic. They came out with a simple statement conveying the message that van Persie would be on the transfer market. But, there is a great deal of difference between how Arsenal and Spurs handled the transfer request.
While Arsenal were clear that van Persie would not tour with them in the pre-season, Spurs were adamant on Modric joining them. It speaks volumes about Wenger’s managerial skills. It is hard to understand why exactly Villas-Boas and Daniel Levy wanted Modric to join the tour to the USA when he clearly was not in the right frame of mind. It is hard for a player to give his all on the training pitch or on a competitive match when his heart is set somewhere else. His presence may also be a disruptive influence on the team, which has been revitalized with the signing of Villas-Boas. Clearly, Modric deserved some respect and permission to stay away from the tour and set his priorities straight after what all he has given to Spurs.
Modric is generally considered to be one of the most professional players in the league. Even when Chelsea were banging on his doors, Modric maintained his dignity, let the club handle the matter and never complained when the club rejected the deal. It was a symbol of the highest professionalism. But, Levy pushed Modric too much. Modric may have started to feel that his service to the club was being unrewarded when Levy flatly refused Real Madrid’s bid for him. Could Levy have done more? Maybe, yes. He could have kept negotiations open instead of being so staunch, which in a way was belittling Modric’s ambitions.
Modric is considered to be one of the finest playmakers of this era and his performance against Spain in the Euros further enhanced his image in the football world. His ability to control the tempo of the game, without any flashiness and keeping the game simple has earned many admirers over the years. He is now 26, at the peak of his abilities. It is clear that Spurs are hampering his intentions of winning major trophies by playing hardball with Real Madrid.
In a transfer deal, if the player has not expressed any desire to move and if a bid has come for such a player, it makes sense to hang on to the player and quote a fixed price. But, with Modric, it is clearly not the case. Spurs don’t have the leverage to keep Modric at their club. It doesn’t help matters when Villas-Boas speaks about meeting Modric’s asking price and assures that Modric will stay put in case their asking price is not met. It clearly is disrespecting a player who has given his all for the club. The fine imposed doesn’t help matters. Even, Rafael van der Vaart has come out and admitted Modric’s desire to move to Real Madrid is understandable. It shows that even the players respect Modric’s intentions. But, clearly Spurs don’t.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, refuse to budge because they know that they have the upper hand with Modric openly admitting his interest in joing the Casa Blanca. The transfer saga has come to a stand still. Neither Spurs nor Madrid seem to be losing any sleep over it. But, the person who is getting affected is clearly Modric. With no clear future in sight, the Croatian will have to endure a few more sleepless nights before a winner is declared.
Clearly, Spurs can learn a thing two or two from their North London rivals about handling a star player’s transfer request. Spurs and Luka Modric both look to win this round. But, it all depends on the referee – Real Madrid.