Why Luka Modric is a Perfect Fit For Chelsea

Photo by Ben Sutherland

Last summer was very different for Chelsea Football Club. The club had just won the double and Carlo Ancelotti appeared to be the man who would finally deliver stability to Abramovich’s era. I remember posing with “The Double” mural outside Stamford Bridge, my face full of joy. Ah, the good old days. Nostalgia aside, there’s one thing that has stayed the same: the desire for an “experienced right-winger.” Those were Ancelotti’s words (or rather they were the club’s words funneled through Ancelotti – Chelsea managers aren’t allowed to have opinions).

Well, the issue was seemingly settled temporarily when Chelsea signed the 30-year-old Yossi Benayoun. One ruptured Achilles later and Chelsea are again looking to fill that role. It’s no surprise that Chelsea have lodged a £22 million bid for Tottenham’s Luka Modric. Right, right, Modric isn’t an orthodox right-winger, but neither were Deco or Nicolas Anelka, both of whom have lined up as right-wingers. Despite some occasional forays into 4-4-2 territory, Chelsea have been quite determined to stick to the 4-3-3 or some slight variation of the formation: 4-2-3-1, 4-3-2-1. Because of Chelsea’s plentiful box-to-box midfield options (and because of their rigid defense structure), several managers have used the right-wing spot as a way to get some creativity through the middle while still keeping the 4-3-3 shape.

The right-wing location is essentially the only place for this type of player because Lampard always occupies the left side of midfield. Nobody gets in Lampard’s way, nobody. However, Lampard really doesn’t provide the creativity that someone like Deco or Modric could. Unless there was an injury, Deco always lined up in the right side of a 4-3-3 and operated more as a playmaker. If you guys remember, this worked well for a while, but it eventually fizzled out. Teams began to exploit the fact that Chelsea had nobody stretching the right side, primarily because Deco was tucking in and had no pace to hit the byline.

What resulted then and what continues today with Chelsea is a team completely dependent on the left side of pitch for creativity. Bosingwa, one of Chelsea’s right-backs, has never shown himself able to force his feeble body to the byline and put in a good cross. This is partly because he lacks aggression (and a brain) and because he’s had nobody else to take defenders away from the right side. In my opinion, Ivanovic, although an unnatural right-back, has had more success with this because he’s able to muscle through defenders who have never seen such a fierce Eastern European man.

That’s why Luka Modric would be perfect for Chelsea: he would decongest the left side of the pitch and reduce the load on Cole and Malouda. Modric can do what Deco did in the middle, without the inconsistencies (Deco was notorious for shutting down in the rain), and he can also beat the opposition’s fullback. Through his creativity and pace, Modric can open up space all over the field for Chelsea. I think he’d also give Ivanovic or Bosingwa a lot more space to operate. What’s more, he’ll open up the field for Ramires, who is turning out to be a brilliant player.

Some of you might be asking why Modric? is the only person who can do this for Chelsea. He might not be. For all I know, Sneijder and Pastore could play similar roles. However, there’s a lot more uncertainty with those two, both of whom have never played in England. Modric is the safest option and perhaps also the cheapest. Given he could stay in London and still play for Chelsea, it’s also arguably the best option for Modric, who revealed Friday that he wants to join Chelsea.Based on the way things are progressing, I’d say Luka Modric will be Chelsea’s #14 before the transfer window closes.

32 thoughts on “Why Luka Modric is a Perfect Fit For Chelsea”

  1. I couldn’t agree more that Modri? would be perfect for Chelsea, he could be the Key to getting Torres firing on all cylinders again. Although he has tended to operate with Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Gareth Bale down the left-hand side for Tottenham this season with great effect, he would be just as effective on the right, as you said, leaving Lampard to do his thing. How would one keep a midfield of (including advanced wide players in a standard Chelsea 4-3-3) Lampard, Malouda, Essien, Ramires, Mikel, Kalou, Kakuta and McEachran happy? I fear McEachran’s development could be compromised should Chelsea continue to pursue Modri?. He has shown that he is capable of dictating the pace of Premier League games as well as Champions League games when called upon. Hopefully his chances won’t be few and far between with Modri? also in the Chelsea roster.

    Also, I fear Modri? may not prove to be a cheaper option. Admittedly he won’t fetch the £45million that Palermo are reportedly holding out for with Pastore but I think that anywhere short of £35million for Modri? may get another blunt response from Tottenham. Especially in light of the recent Henderson transfer. You can say what you like about paying a premium for English talent but the crux of the matter here is that these fees push up the price of all players plying their trade in England. Also, Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy has released this statement only a few hours ago: http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/news/articles/statement-by-club-chairman-daniel-levy-180611.html?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social-media&utm_campaign=statement-by-club-chairman-daniel-levy-180611

    1. You have the right to say no, but Modric has indicated he wants to leave. The power is with the players. If he’s fed up and doesn’t want to play for Spurs, then he’ll be leaving in this transfer window in my opinion.

      The Gaffer

  2. U think modric would play out of position if the club spends multi millions on him. Do u think the club would want to take a risk of playing him on his not-prefered position on right side or keep the old dog lampard on the bench and play the current best premiership midfielder day in day out? I firmly believe he wil play on the left side where lamps play. And about josh, he should not be risked. Give him ten or twenty minutes in every game and some occasional games against weeker oppositions and that will do.

  3. Well, its all up to Daniel Levy really. Modric wont upset the dressingroom if not beeing sold like Berbatov did so if Levy dont sell him he will stay and do his best. Redknapp and Levy knows that. He is a good lad and will allways do his best where ever he plays.
    He stays me reccon.

  4. As soon as a player comes out and sends he wants to join another club it’s usually very difficult to hang on to him regardless of how many years he has left on his contract. In public, Spurs have to say they won’t sell but I’m sure privately they are looking at how much they could get, who they could get to replace him, etc. If they can sell him for 35 million and get a replacement for 20-25 million that would be very good business. It’s really going to be Mr Levy’s call.

    Personally I believe Modric will be sold as soon as Spurs identify a decent replacement, someone Spurs fans can get excited about as the fans will need to be appeased as well. As soon as Spurs show a willingness to sell I can see other clubs making an offer as well. This saga is far from over.

  5. Luka Modric is a Tottenham legend.
    Passion for the badge.
    Embodies the club…

    And he wants to be a celery slapper.


    1. Trickybrkn I read your ‘celery slapper’ line & laughed even though I don’t know what it means… I googled it in advanced search & yours was the only ‘cs’ on the whole net … lol …

      So my ??? to you is… & please (if the answer is vulgar or crude just say ‘never mind’ thx) … what is a ‘cs’???

      thx, K

  6. Modric can be the star at Tottenham, or he can be like Berbatov and struggle to break into the starting 11 at a glamour club. His choice.

  7. People laughed at me when I said Modric may leave in my post earlier this week. Modric’s stock is highest now. If we sell him and all the other fringe players, we’ll have enough money for a top tier striker, a young midfielder to replace modric, scott parker as a utility center mid, and a defender.

    If Modric goes down from here, which is possible considering how good he was, he may have been doing us a huge favor by requesting a move to Chelsea.

    1. As a Chelsea fan I think this deal makes sense for both teams. Having Ramires off the bench allows Chelsea to have a backup for Lampard, Essien and Modric. And Tottenham get to sell a player at his peak, keep Bale, buy a prolific striker and get Modric’s replacement.

      Sadly, this deal explains the problem with the EPL. It makes sense for Tottenham to sell one of their elite players to a team that finished ahead of them in the table. Rich getting richer.

  8. I’d rather move Essien out to RB and keep a midfield trio of Lampard, Modric and Ramires with a Modric/Ramires double pivot. Then Chelsea can keep Anelka, Malouda, Sturridge or someone new at RW and Modric can play his best position. Chelsea has had a far worst time finding a RB than a RW. Let Essien threaten teams down the right side from the back line like what we do with Cole down the left.

    When Ramires or Lampard sit we can move Essien inside and let Ivanovic play outside.

    1. Apologies, that’s a formatting problem. I used the accent ‘c’ on Modric and Ivanovic but the site didn’t recognize the character.

  9. Signing Modric is as much about the future as it is for 2011/2012. Lamps turns 33 this month and we all saw what happens to our attack if he goes down. The ‘difficult moment’ anyone?

    He may have some time out right this season but expect him to be Chelsea’s key cetral midfielder for years to come. Assuming we get him.

  10. I think it’s a shame that Robben left Chelsea in 2007; his departure has been felt in every season since, and has been a spectre of the club’s signings. A true touchline winger like Robben would really stretch defences the width of the pitch. Having said that, I’m not sure Modric’s future (should he come to Chelsea) should be Robben’s old role. I’ve been kicking around the idea of Chelsea playing a 3-5-2 (or rather, a 3-W-2):


    I think Luiz could function well as a defensive midfielder, considering he has ball and passing skills, and could drop into defence if needed. Flooding the midfield would also lessen the burden on Cole, since he seems to run forward on every offensive possession. This would allow him to pick his spots more easily than last season, as the defensive midfielder would use him as the easy pass for him to link with Malouda, as opposed to a more complete buildup play among the midfielders.

    In addition, Zhirkov has been rotting on the bench, and he needs to be used much more. He could spell Cole or Malouda, he’s creative and pacy, and not afraid to dribble into the box.

  11. This article is nonsense. Luka does not fit Chelsea at all. In fact, he would look strange in a Chelsea shirt, dwarfed by the players around him. You mention Deco & Anelka, well neither have thrived at Chelsea, in fact it virtually killed off Deco’s career. Abramovich is determined to turn them into Barcelona but they are simply not the sort of club that small, creative players suit. Abramovich wants Modric because he wants his team to play like Tottenham, but Spurs & Barca have an extensive history & a club philosophy of playing exciting, entertaining football. Chelsea have no real history at all. Even now Spurs have more European silverware & more FA Cups than Chelsea. Time & time again Abramovich buys players, brings in managers, in his desperate attempt to give Chelsea a brand of entertaining football & time & time again it fails. Why? Because he has no patience and he does not give it time to settle. There is no legacy at Chelsea – the guy who just brought them the double with Chelsea breaking scoring records on the way, was sacked just a year later. Modric would do well to take heed and realise just how good he has it at Spurs. Tottenham are a team on the rise & he could be part of that. Chelsea, on the other hand, are in decline & that is exactly why they want Luka. Where is he supposed to play there exactly? Those who are putting him in wide, attacking positions or part of a midfield 3 simply do not know what they are talking about.

    1. @nonsense-Speaking of people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Spurs on the rise and Chelsea on decline? Spurs had one good year and blew their wad on two many midfielders when they needed a striker and a keeper. Chelsea are reloading, planning for the future. All this talk of Chelsea having no history, boo hoo. We are making history now. 20 years in the future people will say ‘Chelsea have history, remember those three EPL titles in six years?”.

      I agree, Modric should stay in an attacking central position. Lampard has one or two years tops so we need a long term back up plan as well as someone who can make an immediate impact.

      1. Yes, the argument about a lack of history is a pretty easy one to make. Histories don’t win matches; a team is made up of its current players and its management, nothing else. (In some ways I find the reverse argument equally thoughtless, from journos, agents and players alike: That playing for a historically great club is somehow better. For instance, Neymar’s father talked up a move to Real Madrid, based on its historical reputation as the greatest club in the world.) Arguing that a team has no history, and that players should act in accordance with this dictum, ignores the active role of players in producing a present for themselves and for the clubs for which they choose to play. Absent that, we are left with an endless recursion of players heading to the same, what, 10 clubs in the world? No thank you. I believe that you conflate the “is” and the “ought,” for since you believe Chelsea are in decline, Modric ought to do something different, because Chelsea have no history, Modric ought not go there, etc.

        In addition, I flatly disagree with your assessment of Roman failing (“time and time again…” in his attempt to produce attractive football. Whether that is his aim, or whether winning the Champions League is, should be discussed at another time. However, to say that he has failed in doing so is inaccurate given the 2009-10 season, in which Chelsea *did* score a record number of goals and won two trophies. And in this past season, when Chelsea amassed the lowest amount of points since Roman purchased the club, he sacked the manager who was responsible for that. So it’s inconsistent to claim an inconsistency in the philosophy of the club’s management decisions. Chelsea did not succeed in its goals this past season; Chelsea is attempting to buy players and find a manager who will accomplish them. It only becomes an object of ridicule from a perspective that will find fault in both endeavors given the original sin of being another team from London and a team attempting to capture a rival’s player. Circular logic may be self-satisfying, but it doesn’t add anything to this conversation.

  12. Schocked that Modri would want to move to Chelsea (besides that wanting to stay in London angle). If Modri wants to join a team that is passionate about toppling Barcelona, he would join Man Utd. for $16M and Berbatov for exchange. Just saying.
    –De Gea?
    Raphael Rio Vidic Evra
    Valencia Modric Giggs Nani
    –Rooney Chicharito

  13. He’s really a bit too clever for the chelski midfield in he.
    The chelski way is much more about guts and steel, size and power.
    Moddders is more Barca, less chelski.

  14. Agreed, but I think Abromovich is wanting to change Chelseas style . Torres and Modric are moves in that direction.

    1. Yes indeed; Roman also intended to do that with Deco it seems, but couldn’t afford the time machine that would have brought the Deco from a decade earlier over to London. I also agree that it’s a preemptive move to get a replacement for Lampard. Should Sturridge, Kalou or LuKakuta start over Drogba in any given match next season, Chelsea could run out a lineup of players 27 or younger (the two exceptions being Terry and Cole). I also think McEachran is part of this gradual stylistic shift; it’ll be interesting to see how Modric and McEachran play together should Modric make the move to Stamford Bridge.

  15. The Modric saga is a gift for Redknapp. He has aksed the club to invest in bringing in more quality players to show their intent if they want to keep Modric. This will now put pressure on Spurs to spend. Even if they do eventually sell Modric the club will still be under a lot of pressure to use all that money and more for new players. This is a win-win for Redknapp. Mt Levy is going to have to open up his wallet.

  16. I luv Luka modric 4 his ambition 4 silverware n history makin he deserves a bigger club chelsea with ambition n hunger 2 make history. Luka modric will fit in2 chelse n make Torres the player he is known to be 4eva. I want Modric at chelse bcos i can watch him play everytime to help my career i love him for choosing chelsea.mentor Luka Modric.

  17. It really pisses me off to see big clubs like Chelsea and ManU be so hypocritical when it comes to transfers. They will never sell one of their players to a rival – Didier Drogba to Tottenham, but in the same breath antagonize players of these teams to unsettle them and get them to transfer. Can have your cake and eat it to, Chelsea. If you want a top player from a arrival them give one up to your rival. 25,000 + Drogba would be a deal I would take.

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