Daniel Levy is fast becoming the marmite-man of English football. Some fans, most notably those of London rivals Chelsea, are far from happy with the way the Tottenham chairman is standing stubbornly in the way of Luka Modric’s ‘dream move’ to Andre Villas-Boas’ side, seeing his protestations as no more than petty time-wasting. Others look at his actions as standing-up rather than standing in the way. Too many times players have held clubs to ransom over transfers, and this is surely a case of it going too far.
It is hard to look at the situation at White Hart Lane and not feel utter despair for the fans as well as the management. Harry Redknapp, love him or hate him, is without a doubt one of the most open and to-the-point managers in the game. And this openness has given the Modric issue a refreshingly different angle to outsiders than with normal transfers. While moves are often left to speculation and wild rumour, Redknapp has come out and told reporters exactly what was offered, exactly what the player has told him and exactly why they have so far rejected all advances for the Croatian.
One of the main reasons for this, apart from the Tottenham manager’s no BS approach, is the fact that his chairman is unequivocal in his stance that Modric will remain at the club. This kind of support has been lacking elsewhere this summer, most notably at Arsenal where Arsene Wenger looks to be fighting a losing battle to hold onto his players.
But one thing that separates the two North London clubs in their transfer battles is the issue of the contract. Daniel Levy’s position is strengthened by the fact that Modric has a whopping 5 years to run on his 6 year contract. Compare this to the Arsenal situation, where Samir Nasri has only a year left to run, and it is clear to see why Levy is so hardened in his resistance.
The supposed ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ that Luka Modric has spoken of in a recent interview with a Croatian newspaper is the one thing that he is able to cling to in this episode, but even that looks to have been worded well enough by Levy that there is little wiggle room for Modric. If it did in fact take place, the Croatian has been quoted as saying that Levy said he would consider an offer that suited, “both parties.” It seems the recent bids have only satisfied the Modric camp, and so the Spurs chairman is well within his rights to reject the offers, as they simply don’t suit Tottenham.
And some of this hard-line stance looks to be rubbing off on North London rivals Arsenal. Arsene Wenger has recently come out stating that he is 100% determined to keep hold of both Nasri and Cesc Fabregas despite the vocal interest from Manchester and Barcelona.
The very fact that forcing players to adhere to the contracts that they signed is becoming the exception to the rule shows what a worrying state the game is in. In the real world there wouldn’t be any quibbling; you agree to the contract and you see it out. For some reason football has taken on an inflated sense of self-importance that has allowed it to separate itself from reality. The game needs more people like Levy to stand-up and make it known that they will no longer put up with this arrogance.
Ready to join the revolution? Or is this all coming across just a little too self-righteous? Let me know on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/_tomclose I’ll be sharpening my guillotine.