Papers are reporting that Tottenham Hotspur midfielder (and wandering soul) Luka Modric has “gone on strike” and told club manager Harry Redknapp that he has no intention of playing for the club again. He will not travel to Old Trafford for Sunday’s game against Manchester United and has now presumably forced the hand of Spurs who have received a bid of £30m for the midfielder.
Spurs boss Redknapp was quoted: “Someone has turned Luka’s head. Luka will not be with us tomorrow. He has a bit of an injury he could have played through but his head’s not in the right place at present. We need to get it all sorted out.”
A move like this is a pretty brash one for Modric; an out and out throwing of the gauntlet against a club that inked a five year deal for him and looked at him as a centerpiece of a team that stands on the verge of being a consistent top four club.
I’d love to say that there is one singular side to jump on the bandwagon of right or wrong on, but really it was a series of poor decisions on both sides. Modric shouldn’t have signed a five year deal when he had the thought in mind of one day playing for a “bigger club,” in his words. Spurs shouldn’t have done the alleged “handshake deal” to let him go if someone came calling.
Both sides come off as amateurs trying to be professionals. However, no one outside of Spurs fans and handwringing football purists are going to care about Modric trying to get out, but many are going to look at Tottenham as less than skillful at keeping a team together that could make a run at a top four finish or a league title.
There seems to be a difference in the league between the have’s and have nots when it comes to prestige and money. It’s a very unique situation in football that differs from other mainstream sports. With few exceptions, it appears that a lot of players who play for a middle of the league or lower table team will try to play well enough to sign with a top four team — to both get more money and play in the Champions League. It’s never the idea that you could be one of a group that takes your team into greatness for the first time; it’s more of the idea that you want to join the club that already wins. This isn’t a negative decree against this mindset; this is also a league in which you get tossed aside once you hit your early 30’s as well most of the time.
As for the teams involved it’s obviously good for Chelsea and not quite as good for Tottenham. If Chelsea gets Modric this week, then they get a creative midfielder they so desperately need and also save face since they have spent the better part of two months trying to sign him. Tottenham gets the transfer fee, but would probably have to wait until January to re-stock, which would be too late if they rattle off a few losses between now and then. Either way, much like the Cesc Fabregas drama, it will be so glad to finally have closure one way or the other.