Finally the biggest transfer saga of last two summers came to an end. Luka Modric is no longer a Tottenham Hotspur player, tough negotiator Daniel Levy has buckled down and settled for an agreement with Real Madrid – their new partners. Tottenham fans will be somewhat happy that Modric is not plying his trade for a Premier League rival which could have been the situation if Levy had accepted Chelsea’s offer last summer. Despite interest from Chelsea, Manchester United and Paris Saint German, Luka Modric has opted for Spanish giants Real Madrid. Spurs have struck a partner agreement which will be helpful to them in relation to players, coaching and commercially. Real Madrid are the masters in these arts and this partnership will be beneficial to Spurs in more than one way but there is also a catch as Real Madrid’s eyes will be glued to the huge talents at Tottenham Hotspur Gareth Bale and Kyle Walker.
These are the things for the future, right now Spurs need to think about their present after gathering a meager one point from two outings. Securing Adebayor’s deal believed to have plugged the main gap in Tottenham roster. Now, the focus needs to be shifted to the deep-lying-play-maker position which Modric used to occupy and was identified as one of the problematic areas in the current season in his absence. It proved out to be a big hole as a Livermore-Sandro combination couldn’t provide the thrust, creativity and spark from the middle of the park, and as a result Newcastle and West Brom were successful in cancelling out the threat caused by Tottenham Hotspur’s flying wingers as they were not worried about the threat through the middle. Another creator Tom Huddlestone is expected to follow the exit path sooner rather than later and it would be ideal to think about the replacements henceforth. So a midfield addition can be expected at the earliest to fill the voids.
Jao Moutinho heads the list of potential arrivals, His previous association with manager Villas Boas gives him an advantage over others in the pecking order. Moutinho had a successful Euro 2012 campaign which fueled more speculation linking him with the move to a higher league. This has also resulted in an ascendancy for his evaluation which can eventually cool down Tottenham’s interest. Moutinho is not a like-for-like replacement for Spurs. He is a mobile player with good vision and creativity but he is not a deep passer. Moutinho can open up opposition defenses with brilliant through balls, something which has been lacking in the Spurs game-play so far this season.
French defensive midfielder Yann M’Vila is another option which attracted the Tottenham think tank. Villas Boas has Sandro, Parker and Livermore as viable options in that category but he believes M’Vila will be an upgrade over them. M’Vila suits perfectly in a 4-2-3-1 formation as well and he can be the lynch-pin in that two-man shield. He isn’t a play-maker who can unlock opposition defenses with ease, nevertheless a word-class talent who can make himself comfortable in a new setup and it could prove out to be the right solution if things fall in place. Comparatively cheaper than Moutinho, but still not the ideal solution.
Roma’s Miralem Pjanic ticks most of the boxes as a potential Modric replacement. Neither he nor his club is interested in a deal. This can change anytime as we often witnessed in many signings, each second in the passing window has a hidden surprise inside. Pjanic is adept at spraying passes from deeper positions, his mobility and killer passing ability will be an added incentive for a Tottenham Hotspur side which lacks on these fonts. Roma might not be willing to reduce the asking price as it may not be an ideal scenario when Daniel Levy is on the other side.
Fulham started deploying Moussa Dembele in their central midfield after the Belgian international arrived at Craven Cottage as a deep-lying forward. His creativity can be matched by none when he is on top of his game but securing his signature won’t be that easy as Manchester United are also rumored to be tracking the Belgian. Dembele is familiar to the Premier League system and can adapt quickly when compared to his counterparts. Tottenham’s neat triangles which we witnessed last season were missing so far and Dembele is someone who can implement it at the Lane without any difficulty. Modric’s will be big boots to fill and only time will tell whether Dembele can fill it or not.
A partnership with Real Madrid! So what is expected as a return for Luka Modric by Tottenham Hotspur. A bit part player in the Madrid setup moving to London will be ringing some bells. In steps Esteban Granero – known amongst Madrid circles as a utility player. His preferred playing position is central midfield. Nuri Sahin comes from a similar mould but Spurs didn’t go after the player which implies that there is no guarantee they will pursue Granero either. The only way this can materialize is if Tottenham fail to land a direct replacement for Modric and their partners helps them out in the last minute. We cannot exclude this possibility for the time being, can’t we?
Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye is also a player who can replace the Croatian wizard in the Tottenham setup, Spurs are yet to make a formal approach for the player. So he is not in the equation presently. Same is the case with Joe Allen after the Welsh international recently completed a multi-million pound move to Liverpool. Etienne Capou is an unknown player even to the football scouts, so one might not trust him with the big boots. With so many names linked to the club it remains to be seen who will make his way to the Lane before the transfer window closes. So who will be the ideal replacement for Luka Modric? Will Tottenham be able to effectively utilize his transfer fees?
When Spurs sold their best player Berbatov in 2008 they failed to get a replacement for him on time and it hampered their progress. Tottenham landed Luka Modric in the same window, different type of a player for a different position, gradually he became the best within the team. He bid adieu after 4 years in a similar scenario, does that mean Spurs will not get a direct replacement? Are they going to get a better world class player for the future? Unlike that summer Levy has time on his side, he is looking for replacements well before time and is also planning to strengthen the weak spots in the squad as well. Levy was described as a wheeler-dealer and one can expect many activities from him in coming days. Tottenham faithful will be eagerly waiting to see the new face who can change their fortunes sooner rather than later.