And So It Begins

Chelsea and Manchester United will engage in an auction for the services of Luka Modric. Not ITK, just obvious, and something I’ve mentioned a couple of times since the season finished. He’s one of the top midfielders in Europe and certainly the best outside the top four, with the possible exception of Gerrard who is welded to his club.

Chelsea’s bid of £22m has been greeted in the Spurs community with howls of

Say It Ain't So, Mo. Dric.

derision, an insult to the player and the club. However, it’s merely an opening gambit in what promises to be a protracted negotiation throughout a long tedious window. They know they will have to pay more, a lot more to not only attract him away from the Lane, where he seems happy enough, but also to outbid rivals. City have come into the equation according to some papers and our CL run was an advert for our best men seen and absorbed across Europe.

The bid signals Chelsea’s intentions to Spurs and to the player but it’s main purpose is to flush other bidders out into the open, which is the main reason why Chelsea leaked it to the media last night. It’s no reflection on us: we’d do exactly the same if it suited us. Harry is hardly a stranger to the media and just because he says it in that ‘football man uncle H know something good when I see it’ tone doesn’t make it any different.

Neither have Chelsea undervalued him. They expect to pay up to double if he signs.  The talk in the Spurs forums about their arrogance at offering such a low figure has meaning only if we are going to sell. He’s worth £40m at least in today’s market but to me he’s worth nothing  because something that’s not for sale has no price.

Nothing has changed with this bid. Levy is the key, not United or Chelsea, Fergie or Abramovich. Media statements from player or club mean little either until the window closes. It’s up to Levy to resist temptation, same as it was last week and the one before. Luka Modric is worth everything and nothing at the same time. Don’t sell under any circumstances.

Lest you believe I’m being unfeasibly charitable towards a club I’ve disliked since my childhood in west London, my I’ve disliked since my childhood in west London derision is reserved for fans of Chelsea and United for that matter who are debating whether or not Modric is good enough for them. If you want hubris and real arrogance, read some of their earnest discussions. My advice, in the spirit of comradeship amongst my fellow fans, is to get down on your knees and pray, beg that your club is worthy of such a maestro in your creaking midfields.

Much of this is based not on the evidence of their eyes but on numbers. Look at the stats, they say, only a few goals and fewer assists. Not up to scratch. What really violates me as they spout this bilge is the concept of football reduced to a series of numbers on a page. I despise this trend in the modern game. No recognition of guile, beauty and power that makes our game the greatest of them all, qualities that Modric epitomises.  Presumably those that query Luka’s credentials clutch clipboards to their breasts ticking off the stats on their puss-splattered pages as their acne rears up.

Numbers tell only some of the story. How do they measure Luka as he picks up the ball from deep, passes, moves, picks it up, pauses for a fraction then on it goes, and him with it? Put a figure on the relieved expressions of team-mates, under intense pressure who look up and find him waiting, wanting the ball. Evaluate if you will the space he creates for others as defenders cluster around him or as he moves to the ball leaving gaps elsewhere. Quantify the emotion as he lifts those around him with a precious combination of skill, perception and sheer dogged bloody-minded effort. Run the tape round his legs and torso or from head to toe: will that tell how far he runs, how hard he tackles or how easily he picks himself up after a physical challenge and just gets on with it? The notion that he is frail is preposterous.

Use these figures to dismiss in a second other footballers who weren’t so hot in front of goal. Ossie Ardiles, for example. Useless to all intents and purposes, yet who could turn a game not with a 25 yard thunderbolt but by running the midfield so that he controlled the pace and shape of the entire game. You want power? Right there, as 21 others played to his tune. Ardiles, a man who could not bear for the ball to be still, couldn’t hit a dead ball (apart from at Man U) but just wanted to play.

Stats? You want one? Work out who started the moves, the man who passed the ball to the guy who made the assist. Better still, wait a year and give him a couple of strikers on the same wavelength, who don’t throw down the picnic blanket and set up camp on the far post or who idle in the safety of the 18 yard line, but who feed off those little balls tucked into channels.

Football is an exhilarating, stunningly beautiful spectacle in the hands and feet of the best. Never lose the sense of mystery as Modric spreads the play 35 yards, threads a pass through when there is no room or sways away from desperate defenders with a single shrug and shimmy. If you think differently, heathens and philistines, oblivious to the sign of true brilliance, frankly, what’s the point? Maybe just spend some time and watch Luka Modric, really watch what he does rather than count. It makes the game a thing of great beauty and wonder, precisely what contemporary football needs. Let’s hope for Spurs’ sake that when you watch, he’s wearing white.

35 thoughts on “And So It Begins

  1. It won’t be a “protracted negotiation” because their is no negotiation. Nobody including himself wants him to go anywhere so clubs can make all the pointless bids they like to give you news story but don’t confuse a bid with negotiation because that is just irresponsible reporting.

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  2. If he goes the spotlight will shift to Bale, with an attempt to unsettle him. And so it goes on. It’s line-in-the-sand time.

    And if he wants to leave sell him abroad.

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  3. His agent covered it, he said “IF an offer came in that was acceptable to club AND player, then we may look at it, he is very happy at Spurs”………

    simples then, first we would have to accept an offer, and weve said “NOT FOR SALE” then the player would think about the move, and he said “IM VERY HAPPY AT SPURS”……i think the papers and so called ITK are making an issues out of nothing…just wish Levy would say i too

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    • Daniel Levy documented on 22/05/11 –

      “We have spent years and hundreds of millions of pounds investing in our First Team squad and in creating a settled team. Having quality players means they automatically attract attention from other clubs – but I can assure you that we have no reason to sell, and every intention of retaining, our key players. We shall simply not entertain any approaches for these players.”

      He has said it.

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  4. I’ve been going to Spurs for the last 15years, and I can hand on heart say, that he is the best player I’ve seen in a Spurs shirt.

    Luka really does make us tick, he is so calm on the ball, he’s passing is awesome, he’s shooting isn’t that bad, he just always seems to be up against a great keeper or a last ditch block. He usually runs the show, when we play at home.

    I think this is the only decent bit of analysis Jamie Redknapp has ever come out with but it’s true. There are only a handful of players in the world who’d take the ball on the edge of the box in the Sansiro and in one split second, see a bit of open space for Lennon and send him on he’s way. It made the move, like so many before it.

    99% of anyone else who’ve ever played the game would have spanked the ball away from goal. Not Luka, he’s a genius

    I’d be gutted to see him play for anyone else in England, sell him abroad if he wants to go.

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  5. Aside from his undoubted ability on the pitch, he seems relatively sensible and straightforward off it too. But, he has an agent, who’s already starting to get his name in the papers, and is working for his fee. It’s been the unspoken tradition over the last few years that not only should Tottenham not try too hard against Manchester United for fear we might commit the unspeakable lese majeste of actually beating them, we should also sell them our best players without too much fuss. I thought this mindset had changed, I hope so, but I see him going to Man U rather than Chelsea (would Spurs really sell to Chelsea?). If he needs dissuading, the example of Berbatov is instructive….

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    • Instructive on how to win trophies and finish the leagues top scrorer? Couldnt agree more Bison :-). For whats its worth Modric is World class and add to that he seems like a decent level headed sort of chap which i think will be a factor in him staying with Spurs. Agree with most of you on here too you have to keep him if you want to progress and i do think he will stay. Hopefully he will announce it soon as well as i honestly feel for you guys having to read this stuff about him going every single day. We had it with Ronaldo and pretty much Real Madrid for one of our players every year and its very frustrating.

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      • If Ferguson picked me a few times I’d have a few medals as well 😉 But in all seriousness, Berbatov has had a good year, and despite the way he left Spurs, I’m glad he did, but it doesn’t seem to have stopped people moaning about him. Anyhow, all this is surely just a distraction from the annual Fabregas/Barcelona show which just seems to be starting up.

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  6. To me, as a lifelong Spurs fan, this is a “WATERSHED” moment for the club , it’s managment team and Levy in particular. Selling Modric to Chelski would send a message to fans and other clubs that we are a “feeder” club for the Top 4 and even if “Ole Red Nose” does not get Modric, he will then go after Bale, as Aug 31st is a long, long way away! This message would deter other top players from coming and we would return to the mediocrity of the 90’s and early millenium years! The best we could then look forward to is a run for Top 4 knowing that realisticaly a Europa Cup slogging place was our best bet! Now that the club has tasted the CL and Top 4 chase it must maintain that tempo and not sell our best players to Top 4 rivals, under any circumstances, or we are only digging ourselves a deeper hole! Modric is under contract so there is no reason to sell even if he is swayed by extra cash. Simple solution, if we value him, pay up. It’s time maybe for management to look at hiking the salaries of core players or risk losing them!
    In summary it’s all up to Levy & Co! Be resolte and maybe pay more to the core players or be greedy and cave in to the likes of Chelski, Manure and man sh!tty, and send a message we are not a Top 4 club to fans and the world!

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    • Agree 100%. How the hell are we going to attract better players if we are selling off the best we have got. If this sale goes through then Joe, Levi & the rest of the board should bugger off because they certainly haven’t got Spurs interests at heart.

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  7. This is my sentiments sell him abroad we can still be a very good team without him but he could take six points of us if he signs for a rival team. Real could give us Benzimar or Ozil Barcelona Thiago

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  8. Modric is an incredible player and would be welcome at SB. However, I cannot see this happening in any way shape or form.

    At SB this season he was the best player on the pitch by a country mile.

    I’m not even 100% sure that Chelsea have made a bid, the press quite often talk toah and can sometimes be doing it to flush out a fee and clear the way for someone who really wants to sign him – Manure!

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  9. F off Chelsea & the rest! .. Why don’t the club slap on a transfer fee of say £80 million – when you consider that two pretty well unproven players, (Jones & Henderson), transferred for around £20 million then this is not an exaggerated fee … In any case Spurs should NEVER sell to a EPL rival – Chelsea & Man U are on their last legs in midfield areas and they both know it – if we keep Modric we can challenge them if we don’t we will sink back to mid-table mediocrity and for the money men, the club won’t be worth as much … Simples …

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  10. IF it was a real bid from Chelski I fear that we have seen the last of Luka playing for us.

    Once the bidding war starts with 2 of the 3 potential clubs having no limits he will go.

    Great shame, and exemplifies everything wrong with “modern football”

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  11. I belive mod’s will go late august,, you can see that Chelsea really want him, they will probly offer us 30mil, and him £90,000 a week double what he earns now, and that’s not even counting if city move in for him to, they could prob’s offer us 34.5 million and him £110,000 a week, and who could we get in with the same quality??

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  12. Face facts spuds fans ! Modric is coming to a bigger club where he will have a chance of winning something !

    30-35m will do it and Harry can go and buy someone from Portsmouth ha ha

    Ps we won 1-0 we won 2-0 we won 6-1 at the lane

    You know the tune

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  13. be realistic, when have we ever been able to shake off the attentions of a bigger club when it comes to holding on to one of our best players? Anderton in the 90’s springs to mind although he regrets it now! before him Mabbutt g-d bless him. Ruddock, Sheringham, Sol Sol, Berbs, Carrick all did the frank bough. if Levy can get another season out of Mods, VDV and Bale then that will be his single greatest achievement as chairman.

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  14. If Modric goes it sends a signal to everyone…..Spurs are a selling club. The players, the fans and other clubs.

    Why would Bale want to stick around if he sees us take a step backwards. How could we ever replace Modric?……Parker?? Give me a break.

    fact is we are never going to sign Sneijder, Aguero or these sorts of players because Utd, City & Chelsea can offer them more of everything

    It would give the likes of Bale, extra reason to justify a move….the claim to be disillusioned with where the club are going, broken promises, steps backwards etc etc

    It would send signals to other clubs that Spurs will deal if the price is right.

    It would send a signal to the fans that we are not serious about achieving greatness. Sure we could get some sort of replacement in but there’s no one of the same quality that springs to mind, so we’d have to start from scracth, unearth another gem, take a couple seasons to polish him up only to be pick-pocketed again.

    The approach we have taken in the passed (Carrick, Berba etc) means we will do nothing more than tread water. remain a viable business, turning over a decent profit but going nowhere.

    I have had great faith in Levy & Co over the years, they have done great things for us and looked after the club well. But, like never before, we are at a corssroads where if we keep our stars we take the path to greater things. If we sell them then we take the path that goes around in cirlces and leads nowhere! If we sell, my faith in Levy& Co. will be gone and it will be time to find new owners with a greater vision.

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    • If the player wants out, then Levy, Fergie or Wenger can do nothing to prevent it. The richer more powerful clubs still have to endure the same pressure from rivals and it’s only because we’re slightly down the food chain that our players are constantly being targeted. Wenger had the same with Vieira, Henry and Anelka. Fergie with Ronaldo etc. Berbatov refused point blank to play, effectively going on strike and breaking his contract. by withdrawing his labour. Levy had no option but to get the best price or alternatively taking him to court for breach of contract. Carrick was in a final year and wanted out again the options were to get the best price or lose him for nothing nine months later?. Its very easy being wise after the event, but Levy will always be in the weaker position as his critics will call him a chancer, holding out for the best price, but if he doesn’t the alternatives are having a sulking player, disrupting the scene and a huge outlay in terms of wages, with the enevitablity of losing him anyway for a reduced transfer fee (Fabregas)

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  15. Totally agree with the comments on Modders. Most “pundits” and the press were going crazy over Bale last season but i always thought he was our best player. It will be a long summer indeed and i expect Man City and Barcelona to join the hunt at some point. I can’t help thinking that had we brought a striker in Jan and focused more on the league we might not be having this problem. Luka, i hope, is not similar to Berbatov in the way he conducts himself so i’m not expecting a pre-season strike from him demanding a move away. However his head has most certainly been turned. So, what do we do about it? We could do nothing and watch the bids come rolling in until someone bends (probably Levy) or we could sit Luka down and agree for him to stay for one more season and “if” we fail to qualify for the Champions League we will let him go to the highest bidder. That may sound mental seeing as he just signed a 6 year deal but we all know that long term contracts are just a safety net to ensure that, if he is sold, we get a top, top pricefor him. If a player wants to leave, he will leave!

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  16. Unless there is an astronomical bid I’m confident he’ll stay this season. I doubt Man Utd could afford him at present, given the other players they are after, while I don’t think dear old Chelsea is particularly (at all) appealing for a man with soul like Modric. But we have to get into the CL next year or accept he should leave. Then we should sell to Real Madrid or Barcelona (he’s that good and is approaching peak years), even for less money, than to our rivals for CL places in England.

    Alan, good stuff on the inherent weaknesses of the number cruncher “experts” out there.

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  17. Canadianraptor. We cant up the wages without bigger crowds when we lost the Olympic stadium we lost a lot more and losing our fourth spot was the last straw. We have a brand new training complex opening soon and we should be having the ground rebuilt but greed has stopped this happening from everyone who stop us from starting the new stadium with there objections . Now Lewis is threatening to walk away and sell Spurs and unless we get a big Arab owner or American like bill gates this is the start of Tottenham dominoes and mid table mediocre. We can go two ways use our top players to build a super stadium and buy potential or follow City Chelsea and Utd down the road to ruin and dept. If we do this and there is another economy collapse that i believe will go pear shaped again and fans will start to get fed up with money dictating the game and if a European League does not happen then this top four will kill the premiership for good this is now the top four owners UTD American backed by Quatar Chelsea Russion with American Chairman. Man City Arab owners Abu Dhabi Arsenal American owned 26 percent Russian . The league has become awash with money and sadly drugs and you have to be carful who you buy and they then go rubbish the best signings some teams have made are fitness conditioners who make there teams run for 90 mins plus with Toure juice Fans will soon leave this corrupt fucked full of drugs game if these new rules don’t kick in soon Modric is living proof Footballers are kissing the devil Money and Medals are being bought on a frenzy of drugs scandal and if Modic who suppose to be a geat lad then the game is terminally ill and ready to implode like the banks pissed off ready to fuck of Davspurs and also dump Sky.

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  18. Of course we didn’t want to move to Stratford.. We are Tottenham..

    Time for Levy to pull some new stadium plans out of his a*se and pronto.

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    • matt

      And just where do you suggest we go? Reykjavik? I’ve heard that for GBP 300,000, Iceland is prepared to rename its capital city to Tottanhem. Close enough for you, muppet? And land values are zip there so Mr Levy should be able to build a 60,000-seater for about GBP 20m. And at least we wouldn’t be standing on Karren Brady’s tits like at Stratford! U like, twat?

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  19. i think he is a fabulous player who works so hard. he is very much like ossie. picks the ball up deep, makes himself available for throw in on the left wing or right wing, always available
    that wonderful touch that gives him time to get away from the marker is sublime, peter crouch watch and weep.
    but, with fair play rules coming in the time of the silly money is fast running out and i fear that if someone were to offer 40 mill plus then levy wd think hard. if torres is woth 50 then modric is worth more. he is one of prob only three or four players in the premiership that wd not embarrass themselves if in a barcelona shirt. and i think he wd fit in best, ahead of the fabregas kid. but if the fair play rules put a lid on amounts clubs will pay then this cd be the summer to cash in, levy will have that in mind. but if he goes then it shd be on the last day as we dont want it unsettling others

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  20. i live in Kenya. Have followed this blog for a while. Keep it up. Better than the drivel swirling around most sites. I love Modric but…we can not play him and VDV. We are left too open. A midfield triangle of Hudd, Sandro n VDV would have more balance..free up Lennon/Bale and Walker/Rose to do some damage. And if we can get Drogba…but what do i know hehe. COYS!

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  21. Well as predicted it’s happened and will again with Bale and perhaps Sandro. We can do a couple of things, but the one thing we certainly cant afford to do is drag this out until the eleventh hour as we did with Berbatov. It leaves us helpless and exposed. Many of you are forgetting that this window and Jan are the last when players will be offered silly money and I wouldn’t bet against Modric ‘going on strike’ ala Berbatov. If that were to happen Levy is up against a huge problem and both solutions are lose lose. Surely the FA must see that the player has been tapped up? Look at Luca’s statement in May and compare it to yesterday. This has nothing to do with trophies, its all about money and this will happen again with Bale quite soon!

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