The transfer saga of Luka Modric appears to have turned into a Luka versus Levy stalemate. With the Croatian having five years left on his contract, Daniel Levy is perfectly entitled to reject any bid if he does not want to sell. Modric upset at not getting his way went public, culminating in a transfer request, trying to force a move, knowing many would wave the “you can’t keep a player who wants to leave” flag.
The midfielder said he wanted a “dream” move to a bigger club. Spurs fans may argue that historically, Chelsea are not bigger – recently just richer. Modric has also said that he wants to play Champions League football. Again fans may argue that as part of the team who didn’t get Spurs back into the top four, he shouldn’t turn round now and complain, but help ensure a top four finish next season. As to the gentleman’s agreement, only Levy and Modric may know the truth. What is apparent is that Modric’s contract does not have a break clause and last year the midfielder was happy to sign it.
Levy may have staked a lot in being adamant Modric is not for sale “at any price”. If he is sold, then what will be the perception of Levy himself; what will his word be worth? Also Spurs could be seen as a selling club, with a lack of ambition, and other players – such as Sandro, Bale, Dawson and Walker – may question whether their footballing aspirations are best served by being at the Lane. If Modric stays, Spurs may have an unhappy squad member, but who should only be disruptive if he behaved unprofessionally. However, a message would be sent to the squad, the fans and to Premier League rivals that Spurs mean business, are serious about building for the future and intent on challenging for honours. Arguably it is more important for Spurs to keep Modric than cash in on one discontented player.
Perhaps Modric should ask himself how much Chelsea really want him. With the fees being quoted for other Chelsea linked targets this summer like Pastore, why have Chelsea offered so relatively little for a player with a long contract. With Levy a notoriously tough negotiator they knew the bids would probably fail. With two low offers so far, could they be using him as a negotiating tactic for another target? Probably not, but time will tell.
Maybe focus should return to recruitment; not solely to placate the Croatian, but perhaps to underline the message of intent and more importantly improve the squad and keep pace with others spending heavily. Levy did good business in bringing in Sandro, Pienaar and Van der Vaart last year. Investment needs to be made on bringing in quality targets, whether or not Modric stays, in areas needed: the forward line, centre of defence and cover at left back. To do this Levy may have to compromise on the price of some fringe players to get these players off the payroll and raise funds for purchases.