There was a time when I supported Daniel Levy’s stance in this extremely tiresome Luka Modric saga. But that was way back there, well past the line of logic and reason. And while I admire the Tottenham chairman for standing up against the bigger clubs, it’s starting to look like a mistake.
I’m not siding with the notion that Levy is trying to make a name for himself and come out of this with a bigger reputation in European football; whoever it was who thought that idea up is really wide of the mark. But this protracted transfer mess is doing Tottenham no favours.
Daniel Levy is evidently one of the stronger chairmen in English football, persistent and determined to get the transfer figure he initially set out to receive. There’s a lot to admire in the way he tells the bigger clubs like Real Madrid or Manchester United to pay up or move on, with very little pressure from his own court with regards to the running down of player contracts. However, I do believe that Levy opting to drag this particular Modric saga on towards the end of the transfer window has been one of his mistakes.
The club have done some business this summer, and you can’t really fault either of their three signings so far. However, the Tottenham squad really did look thin on the weekend against Newcastle, and you’ve got to wonder where the Modric story ends and where Tottenham really begin to plan for the season ahead.
At this stage, the depth at Spurs seems to give them little in the way of landing a top four spot. The club have two recognised strikers, are apparently looking to offload Michael Dawson, and the chairman continues to be indecisive over transfer which will genuinely help the club. If Hugo Lloris is a player capable of taking Spurs to the next level, then get the deal done and move on.
Last year it was reported that Spurs could have received around £40 million for Modric had they sold him to Chelsea. Fair enough, though, Levy wasn’t about to be bullied by a clearly stronger club. But now, with various reports emerging that Real Madrid have backed away from the deal and then decided to enter back into negotiations, it looks like Tottenham may only get around £25million for the midfielder.
Again, I understand why Levy didn’t sell last year, but with the fee dropping from £40 million all the way down to something potentially well below £30 million via a proposed swap offer of Nuri Sahin, it looks like nothing but negligence from a club who need as much from this transfer as they can get. There is no question of the player perhaps staying, as Modric has continued to stress his intentions to leave White Hart Lane.
Tottenham’s revenue streams are not at the heights of other clubs in the league, and transfers such as this are an excellent way of helping the club move forward. I’m not totally sold on the idea that Spurs are a selling club, but when an opportunity like £40 million comes along, you take it.
Levy’s strong approach is something that a lot of managers and chairmen can learn from. However, he does need to find ways to resolve transfer matters well before the end of the summer window.
The Tottenham chairman has realised that there could be potential to land upwards of £40 million for Modric again this summer and is determined to get it. We saw his incredible composure in the square off with Manchester United over the Dimitar Berbatov deal and he eventually landed the £30 million he was after.
However, like Modric in this case, how much did Levy sacrifice by going all the way to the wire over the Berbatov deal? United wanted to remain firm on a figure around £20 million but had their hand forced by Manchester City, who made themselves known very late on. And despite the final fee Spurs received, they went into that season with only Darren Bent and Roman Pavlyuchenko as the strikers, with Fraizer Campbell on loan from United.
With Luka Modric, how likely is it that he will get £40 million? Moreover, is it worth the extra few million to leave the squad so short with only a few days left of the window?
Many fans will suggest that the club need a huge fee in order to adequately replace Modric, but I see that as well wide of the mark. A respectable fee can be spent on a like-for-like replacement in midfield with plenty of cash left over for the rest of the squad.
Santi Cazorla cost Arsenal around £15 million and is better than Modric. Mesut Ozil left Werder Bremen for Real Madrid for a similar fee, as did Miralem Pjanic when he left Lyon for Roma, and Joao Moutinho when he swapped Sporting for Porto. The point is, clubs like Tottenham don’t have to go after the Mario Gotzes or other equally priced midfielders if they want to replace or better Modric’s production. But Levy’s decision to draw out this saga has really weakened Tottenham’s position.
With just a week left of the transfer window and Spurs needing to get Modric off the books in order to buy, who’s to say we won’t see a similar rush around the isles that we saw from Arsenal on deadline day last year?
If, by the last few days of the window, Spurs do have a good amount of cash to strengthen their squad, which club will want to put themselves in the same position by giving up their best players and quickly shopping around for a replacement?
Levy had a number of chances to pull the trigger on a deal that would have brought him around £30 million, but who is he kidding by trying to get £40 million for a player who isn’t in huge demand in the market? Real Madrid want Modric but don’t really need him, while Chelsea are also flirting around the idea of another move for Modric but are also well stocked in that area of the field.
Levy’s strong stance in this particular matter has become difficult for the club, and the idea that Real Madrid have decided to pull out of the deal only adds insult to potential injury. The player doesn’t want Spurs and Spurs really don’t need the player. The best that Levy could have done was get rid early when the price was high and use a good deal of knowledge of the market to replace and strengthen.
Newcastle didn’t need £20 million to land Yohan Cabaye, yet I’m sure the Frenchman would be more than welcome at White Hart Lane.
Despite the addition of a couple of good players and a young manager, how are Spurs going to launch a strong charge on the season with their chairman allowing this saga to drag on to the final days of the window?