Luka Modric’s desire to leave White Hart Lane and move to London rivals Chelsea has left Spurs in a bit of a spin. Modric’s dream of Champions League football next season has prompted the Stamford Bridge side to make a failed bid for the Croatian midfielder.
But on Wednesday evening Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy announced that despite the heavy speculation surrounding his future, wantaway Modric would not be sold for any price. Spurs’ desire to hold onto their star midfielder means that Harry Redknapp may have to deal with a possibly unhappy player next season but can any big money deals change Modric’s mind and assure him of the club’s ambition?
Spurs could still cash in and let one of their top performers move to a rival or the more likely approach will be to continue to reject any approach for Modric and try and keep a player who wants to move happy. Both options are risky for Tottenham’s immediate future but a third option could be to spend big and prove to Modric that Spurs are serious about challenging for honours next season in an effort to keep him at the club and happy.
Tottenham have rarely been shy in the transfer market before with signings in previous years including Rafael Van der Vaart, Steven Pienaar and Sandro. The capture of Brad Friedel from Aston Villa started off Spurs’ summer spending but Harry may now have to look further afield to convince Modric of Tottenham’s intentions next season.
Their hunt for a consistent striker continues (with Barcelona’s Bojan Krkic, Leandro Damiao of Internacional and Villarreal’s Giuseppe Rossi are just a few of the latest names linked). But will any of these actually convince Modric that Spurs is a good place to be next season? To seriously challenge for a top four spot (whilst juggling Europa League and domestic cup commitments) will require some big signings and I would doubt that only a new striker would cut it.
Harry’s first step (whilst still trying to keep a firm grip on Modric and ward off any further Chelsea interest) is to get rid of players surplus to requirements at White Hart Lane. There are too many players (Robbie Keane, David Bentley, Niko Kranjcar etc..) on Spurs’ books but not in Harry’s first team plans. Buying players that will impress Modric will not come cheap so Tottenham will need any available funds and wages to attract the big names.
But should Spurs’ be held to ransom over Modric’s future and buy players to support him when he doesn’t really want to stay anymore? Bowing to player pressure is probably the riskiest move of them all. If Modric is demanding a move away from the club then why should Spurs be forced to spend big just to keep one player happy? Also keeping an unhappy star at the club could backfire on Tottenham as wantaway players often see their form drop if they have one eye on the exit door.
Modric’s desire for guaranteed Champions League football at a club in the hunt for silverware and possibly on the brink of a revival under new manager Andre Villas-Boas is unfortunately not something that Tottenham can offer for the immediate future. And however many star names they can bring in, there is still no guarantee that this strategy will work for Tottenham in future years in a very tough league.
The theory that no one player is bigger than any club has prompted some massive transfers over the years (most recently Fernando Torres from Liverpool to Chelsea) and the same idea can easily be applied to Modric and Spurs.
But whatever Redknapp’s next move is concerning Modric, the playmaker’s flirtation with Chelsea has given Harry a massive headache. Giving in to player pressure is a massive risk but if Modric is still at the club come the start of next season and Spurs have a couple of new star names to join him, maybe it will all be worth it at White Hart Lane.