The problem with making any sort of definitive pronouncement is that you can find yourself having to stand by it, come what may. Daniel Levy was certainly brave in stating that Luka Modric was not for sale at any price but since then the player has upped the ante, to the extent that he has reportedly submitted a transfer request.
While that may not change anything in the chairman's mind, there is no doubt that trying to hold on to someone who is so clearly convinced that his future lies away from White Hart Lane presents all sorts of problems.
In angling for his move, Modric does not appear, in the circumstances, to have lost his sense of decorum: no Darren Bent-style twittering for him. In the midst of all the speculation swirling around, he has variously been described as "the nicest boy you could meet" (Harry Redknapp), "a very, very good professional" (Joe Jordan), and "as good as gold" (Kevin Bond). This is hardly a surprise, since he has always come across as an intelligent and good-natured individual.
There was a period last season when Modric (and indeed other members of Tottenham's Croatian contingent) appeared to be the recurring presence at charitable events supported by the club, and his conduct in general appears to have been impeccable both on and off the field. If he is, however, determined to go, then Daniel Levy may find that he has backed both himself and the player into a corner. There is already more than a hint of the unpleasantness that may be to come following the "clear the air" meeting between the two. In addition to claiming that some sort of "gentlemen's agreement" had been breached, Modric went on to say that,
"A lot has been published in the press about the meeting with Levy, who gave the public a twisted account of what happened. I must say that I am genuinely disappointed about what Levy said to me. He didn't care about what I was telling him. It all only convinced me further that I was right to consider moving on to another club … He threatened me - he said if I didn't accept the club's stance, they would make me sit on the bench or in the stands"
While not exactly burning any bridges, it's clear that Modric is at least getting out his matchbox. No doubt the saga still has some way to run.
The anxiety over Modric has been compounded by the news that the other outstanding Spurs player in the latter half of last season is now going to be out of commission for the start of the next. Sandro picked up his knee injury at the Copa America and his presence in midfield will be sorely missed. Spurs have been linked with a player who could more than adequately fill Sandro's shoes, but Redknapp is reportedly balking at the amount of money needed to acquire the services of Scott Parker. But who knows, perhaps the manager will have £30m plus to spend before the summer is out.
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