Luka Modric is no villain – and he doesn’t deserve to be portrayed as one.
Sure, he may’ve been out of order skipping Tottenham‘s flight to LA on the weekend. But suggestions that he doesn’t care about the Spurs cause, or is putting himself above the club are wrong.
Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, received plenty of praise – and rightly so – for his resistance against Chelsea last summer. Bid after bid was tabled by the Blues, only for Levy to dig in and insist Modric stay.
He was rightly applauded for the stand. But what of Modric? Didn’t he deserve at least some of the praise to be deflected his way?
After all, it was he who made the biggest sacrifice. The Croatian would’ve doubled his money going to Chelsea.
But after seeing that prospect denied, he didn’t throw a wobbler or stop work. He threw himself into his job. He played his heart out for Spurs, carrying them on his shoulders for much of the season and driving the club to a fourth place finish. And all this was achieved with the promise of new contract talks never being met.
But there was never any complaint from Modric, nor his management. Think of the many players in recent years in similar situations. The disruptive behaviour. The disparaging leaks to the media. But we don’t see any of this from the Modric camp.
Last weekend was his first fit of pique.
And even then, he’s already on the front foot, apologising to Levy and returning to Spurs Lodge yesterday for training. He’s just a great pro – which is why Jose Mourinho is desperate to have him at Real Madrid, even telling Kaka yesterday at the Bernabeu that he’ll have to make way for Modric should the deal happen.
If it is to be Madrid, it’ll be a huge loss for the Premier League. At 27, Modric is now entering his peak and it should be the Premier League that benefits.
It’s understood his advisers would prefer Modric choose Manchester United over Real – and you can understand why.
At Real, Modric won’t be the main man. Mourinho likes his team to play through Xabi Alonso and he’ll use Modric as a pinch hitter, covering for the Spaniard, or playing further forward – possibly in a wide position – to make room for the central pairing of Xabi and Sami Khedira.
Under Sir Alex Ferguson at United, Modric would arrive as Paul Scholes’ ideal replacement. The game would be played through him, box-to-box, from picking up the ball at the back to providing the cutting edge in the final attacking third. United’s play would rely on him.
But his dream is now Madrid and he’s sweating on Real meeting Levy’s £40 million valuation. The Spanish giants’ reluctance to meet the asking price should serve as a warning to Modric.
In the past, Real president Florentino Perez has thought nothing of paying well over the odds for players his coaches have demanded. But it’s now a different financial climate in Spain and with the ‘Beckham Law’ about to be scrapped, Real and Barcelona are having to reign in their transfer market ambitions.
What this means for their Champions League hopes time will only tell, but when you compare the spending of United, Chelsea and Arsenal already this summer with Real and Barca, Modric’s advisers should be putting the question to him: Are we taking a step down leaving the Premier League?