Andre Villas-Boas had insisted on strengthening Chelsea’s midfield during the summer, and was not hesitant to speak about his admiration for Modric, and the talent he had to offer. But at a valuation of £35m, it is hard to believe the Blues really needed to splash the cash, at this moment in time.
Looking at Chelsea’s current squad, it really does seem like even if Modric were to arrive, the manager would face a challenge in integrating him into the side. Chelsea have favoured a 4-3-3 formation for quite some time now, and with their current line of strikers, who are all eager for a starting place, it would be difficult to compromise on their futures just to make way for Modric. Daniel Sturridge, Fernando Torres, Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka, Florent Malouda and now Romelu Lukaku are the ones fighting for a starting place in the line-up. Which leaves only three spots in midfield to accommodate Modric, and with Frank Lampard almost guaranteed a place in the squad, alongside a holding midfielder in John Obi Mikel or the injured Michael Essien, it leaves Villas-Boas with just one spot left. This means he has to choose to bench the likes of Ramires, Yossi Benayoun, Josh McEachran and Romeu Oriol just to make way for a certain Croatian.
Of course, one can always argue that a change in formation will always make things easier, but getting used to a new formation takes time and at Chelsea, time is of the essence – just as Luiz Felipe Scolari realized during his reign at the Bridge, during which the squad could not adapt quick enough to save his tenure. Another aspect worth taking note of is that Benayoun offers a very similar style of play to Tottenham’s playmaker. The Israeli was more than capable of building plays during his time at Liverpool, but simply has not been given the chance to do the same at Chelsea.
To make sure this is not an impulse buy, both club and manager need to assess the squad and really think about their decisions, before adding to the team. And if Chelsea really have decided to end their pursuit of Modric, it may very well be a blessing in disguise.