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Luka Modric Hands In Transfer Request: Why It’s So Hard To Build a Dynasty

The latest entry in the saga involving Chelsea’s attempt to pry away Tottenham forward Luka Modric away from White Hart Lane involves honesty, bitterness, money (of course) and the idea surrounding unhappy players and what is exactly a “big club” in the 2011 version of the Premier League.

As the story stands: Modric, claiming loyalty to the Spurs over the years, has now handed in a transfer request to go to a “big club,” i.e. Chelsea. Don’t forget that Modric signed a £40,000 a week deal with Tottenham a year ago. Spurs boss Harry Redknapp and chairman Daniel Levy are, of course, angered and probably a tad hurt by this, as guys like Modric are what helped Spurs get into the elusive “top six” last year and unquestionably would help the club return to the Champions League in the future on a more consistent basis.

Modric says that he’s been “a loyal sportsman,” playing through injuries and putting in his time. His dream though is to be with a team that can challenge for an English title and a Champions League trophy. Chelsea, realizing that Frank Lampard isn’t going to be around forever (and isn’t going to be a top player for much longer) needs a midfielder who can create chances and set up Fernando Torres, whose goal total for Chelsea since signing has been exactly 2 (we’re counting his recent goal in friendlies). Chelsea turned in a £22 million offer which was turned down and recently bumped that amount to £27 million.

Redknapp admits that losing Modric would “tear Tottenham to pieces.” Modric claims that Levy is breaking a promise that would let Modric go if a big club came calling, has referred to Levy as “arrogant” and has also said that there is an alleged “civil war” within the club between players and management over the whole thing.

On the surface the whole things seems plainly easy yet extremely frustrating. Spurs can’t keep a guy on the team who doesn’t want to be there, yet Modric is one of the reasons why they’ve been so successful as of late. The money they would get if they sold him would be valuable of course, but there is no guarantee that they will get someone of equal value, or if “new signing X” will have the proper chemistry. It’s a true “damned if you do/damned if you don’t” scenario.

What makes all of this so intriguing is the viewpoint of Modric. He signed a long term and valuable contract a year ago but claims that a promise was made that he could split if a “big club” came around. While Tottenham isn’t a “big club,” they certainly seem like a club that is on the rise and could be a constant presence in the top four if they could just keep the stars they have and build for the future. Dynasties are built through a few things, and holding on to valuable assets is amongst the most important factors (along with stellar recruiting and of course, lots and lots of money). Shouldn’t Modric, at 26 years old look at what he has now and think about the fact that he’s a marquee player on a team that contends and could slide right in to the top four? Would he be happy being in the midfield at Chelsea when the club seemingly thinks Lampard has more years left then he actually does?

Modric will probably sign with Chelsea. However, this story (and the Fabregas/Arsenal/Barca one) leads to a weird trend amongst players and could re-establish a trend. If you’re on a middle to higher team, it doesn’t matter if you try to lock in your best guys with long and valuable deals, because if the “bigger clubs” show interest, your best player will go from someone who’s happy to being there to someone who will start looking over the horizon at more scintillating opportunities and will attempt to break that contract, leading the team into turmoil and ruining your chances at building any sort of momentum to have your team be a “big club”.

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  1. Spence

    July 14, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Gentleman’s agreement? What a friggin’ joke.
    You signed a contract son. Saddle up and get on with it!
    I don’t understand the mentality/philosophy that pro soccer players are delicate flowers that won’t contribute if you hurt their feelings. These guys got where they are because they are competitors, not lawyers. Besides, if they play half-a$$edly, they are going to get a reputation for it and their value will plummet.

    Other notes:

    It’s been mentioned already, but selling to Chelsea screws Spurs X 2. If they sell him at all it should be outside the premiership.

    Getting Drogba is a pipe dream… they won’t cough him up to Spurs for the same reason I mentioned above. (or at least they’d be stupid to)

    Anelka would be a cancer to the team.

    • Nate

      July 15, 2011 at 12:24 am

      “You signed a contract son. Saddle up and get on with it!”

      Get over yourself. If you could do the exact same job for triple the money in a better work environment you would jump ship in a heartbeat.

      Modric is not the type to sulk if he doesn’t get his way. Not that it matters, his move to Chelsea is guaranteed.

      • Spence

        July 15, 2011 at 12:38 am

        Get over myself?
        He signed a contract and belongs to Spurs.
        “Jumping ship” is not his choice dimwit.

        • Nate

          July 15, 2011 at 9:43 am

          Yes, get over yourself. Judging by your airbrushed “eHarmony” picture you obviously take yourself too seriously. This is a football website not a dating service.

          Furthermore, if given the opportunity I’m positive you are the type of person who would leave your current job for triple the salary. I would too if the money was guaranteed.

          Players control their own destiny, contract or not. If Spurs ownership are as clueless as you I see why they won’t finish in the top 4 again.

          • Dave C

            July 15, 2011 at 11:51 am

            Nate, you just sound jealous of his smooth skin and thick, dark goatee. Admit it! I bet you’ve logged onto eHarmony right now to track him down.

          • Rob

            July 15, 2011 at 12:50 pm

            Clearly you are a connoisseur of avatar photos, so I’ve attempted to change it to suit your fine taste. Just hope Gravatar updates it soon.

            Furthermore, you are brighter that you seem. Your are correct on two counts. First, if I could change jobs to triple my salary I would… If I didn’t sign a contract to be at my original employer for four years. Second, players do control their own destiny.. they can sign contracts with whomever they like.

            If Spurs decide to release/trade Modric, it will be because it is in their best interest, not because they want to hurt Luka’s feelings. So far, the offers have not been in their best interest.
            If there was a Gentleman’s agreement, then his lawyer/agent should be fired.

            On a broader note, this whole culture of “top” clubs poaching talent from the rest is a self-perpetuating plague on the sport… but I’ll save that rant for another day.

  2. Robert

    July 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Contract law is sh*t in Europe.

  3. trickybrkn

    July 14, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Tottenham and dynasty

    man Spuds fans crack me up…

    • luka van der bale

      July 15, 2011 at 7:30 am


      Just hope your mob dont go down again.
      It’s also about time we had a raid on your top players again.
      Oh yea, you aint got none.

  4. Ringo

    July 14, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    If Modric is sold and Spurs want to maintain their current formation, Scott Parker is the most obvious solution (and quite cheap, relatively speaking).

  5. Phil Sandifer

    July 14, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I dunno, I wouldn’t be shocked if Modric stays. Tottenham are, I think, weighing the value of throwing their weight around in the transfer market and telling Chelsea to get bent – as much a serious statement of intent as their Champions League performance this year was. There’s good reason to hold him, much as Arsenal seem to be preparing to make their last stand over Nasri as a statement of intent even though the money would be, by any normal measure, preferable to the player leaving for free next year. Except that selling Nasri is effectively admitting defeat in the title race and declaring yourself to be a selling club. Likewise, stubbornly holding Modric shows seriousness that can attract other buys.

    • MennoDaddy

      July 14, 2011 at 11:06 am

      And another key issue is that Modric, perhaps stupidly, signed a six year contract with no escape clause. Contract-wise, he’s screwed, and the only way he has to get out of his situation at Spurs is to throw a tantrum.

      Levy should tell him this: You’re ours. We want Champions League. You’ll play one more year, and if we don’t make CL then we’ll sell you on.

      Besides, if Spurs don’t make CL this season, I suspect there will be a few more defections from the team (Bale, for starters).

      • Daniel

        July 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm

        Modric is great and I would love to see him stay but the more I think about it, it wouldn’t be terrible if he left.
        Kranjcar would get pulled back into the team and the money (35 min., or ~27 + Sturridge (not Drogba as he only has a year or two left)) and we could use that to buy a quality striker — what we’ve needed all along. We’d still have top quality midfield (which Niko is if he gets consistent playing time) and when playing a 4-5-1 could have Hudd and Sandro playing deep with VdV up top or a 4-1-4-1 with Sandro/Hudd deep and BOTH VdV and Niko up top for a more attacking option.

        At this point I’m more anxious about what forwards we sign than the Modric debacle — as much as I’d love him to stay.

        • MennoDaddy

          July 14, 2011 at 1:05 pm

          It does make you wonder whether Scott Parker to Spurs might not be such a bad idea after all…

        • Nate

          July 14, 2011 at 7:13 pm

          Niko is out, Spurs burned that bridge big time. Don’t think that how Spurs have treated Kranjcar isn’t a major influence on Luka’s decision.

          Sturridge isn’t going anywhere, and the only place Drogba will leave for is Marseille. Take Anelka and 27 million and start your preseason preparation.

  6. BD

    July 14, 2011 at 10:51 am

    “Shouldn’t Modric, at 26 years old look at what he has now and think about the fact that he’s a marquee player on a team that contends and could slide right in to the top four? Would he be happy being in the midfield at Chelsea when the club seemingly thinks Lampard has more years left then he actually does?”

    Wrongwrongwrong…..Spurs are not in the top four at present and unfortunately (let the hate begin) they are not going to be there at the end of next season either. Modric knows better than all of us about how the TEAM HE IS CURRENTLY ON looks and it’s Champions League material. And to your second question, Modric would definitely be happy there because Lamps is on his way out as well as Villas-Boas not being a coach stuck in one formation (yeah, I’m talking to you, Carlo).

    Welcome aboard, Luka! Glad to have you as a Blue……

  7. MennoDaddy

    July 14, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Nobody’s mentioning that the £27m pound “improved offer” by Chelsea is ridiculously low? Like, insultingly low?

    I mean, Abramovich is willing to splash out £50m for Fernando frickin’ Torres, but he suddenly starts low-balling on one of the best creative midfielders in the league?

    I support Levy in flat rejecting this bid. Luka probably will be sold, but it should not be for any less than £35-40m, or £30m + Sturridge or Drogba.

    Either that or sell Luka outside the EPL. Inter probably needs a new MF since Sneijder appears to be heading to Old Trafford…

    • Michael

      July 14, 2011 at 7:11 pm

      Modric is worth at most 30m, and that’s pushing it. 27m is a very acceptable bid, not “ridiculous” in the least bit.

      I think it’s hilarious and sad these days when smaller clubs think their best player is worth so much. I saw something today about Hamsik being worth 100m, how absurd.

      • luka van der bale

        July 15, 2011 at 7:27 am


        Sorry mate but if Downing is worth 20M then Modric has got to be worth 35-40. Modric would be a major player for any top team, especially a team like chelski that has no top creative types. Im personally not for selling him but he’s well worth 35M+ to a chelski cause they have got no one like him.

  8. Adamindallas

    July 14, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I think the most difficult thing for Spurs is not that Modric wants to be sold, but that he wants to be sold to Chelsea. They are trying to compete with Chelsea in the league, not help them keep the gap maintained

  9. Matt

    July 14, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I’m a Spurs fan, but this is TOO funny-

    “No like share room with monkey.”

    Anyway, he’s not leaving except for stupid, stupid money. Don’t worry!

    • marky mark

      July 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm

      I’m a peacock! Ya gotta let me fly!

  10. Rob

    July 14, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Well, Harry Redknapp and Daniel Levy have completely rejected Modric’s transfer request. So, even if Chelsea come back with another offer (a “final offer” if reports are to be believed) then that will be rejected too and Modric is back where he started.

    Luka is going to have to realise that no matter what he says or does he’s not going to be sold to anyone soon, so he had better pull up his big boy pants, be an honourable man about things and get on with playing for Tottenham. From here on in, he simply has zero options left to him. End of story.

    • Nate

      July 14, 2011 at 7:07 pm

      Beginning of new story. Modric signs for Chelsea in August. Chelsea wins EPL and Champions League.

      Levy is the one who has no honor, going back on a gentleman’s agreement. Paying Modric 40,000 a week is insulting in today’s market. He is one of the top 3 attacking center mids on Earth.

      • Tommy

        July 14, 2011 at 9:19 pm

        Modric is actually on ~70k/week, being Tottenham’s highest paid player (as we have a pretty stringent pay scale policy).

      • brn442

        July 15, 2011 at 10:03 am

        Nate, did Levy put a gun to Modric’s head to sign for 40,000 a week? I would be the first to say at minimum, he should get a pay rise out of this but I’m always amazed when a player after a short stint at a club, performs as expected (you know – not being a costly flop) and now feels entitled to either a doubling of his wages or the right to MOVE ON – regardless of what his contract says.

        • Nate

          July 15, 2011 at 12:39 pm

          I have followed Luka’s career since he was at Dynamo. He is a class act. The question is do you believe him or not, I do.

          Here is what happened. Levy sat down with Luka and offered him a deal. Luka said he’ll sign, on condition that if a Chelsea/Man U/Barca/Madrid came in for him then they would let him go. Luka signs and gets a pay raise. Levy “locks in” Modric, knowing that he can sell for a handsome profit.

          It’s not that he’s entitled (which he is). He made an agreement that Levy backed out on.

          • brn442

            July 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm

            “Levy “locks in” Modric.” Really ? Poor fella. So you’re saying Levy did put a gun to Modric’s head? As usually, players with a half-decent Lawyer/Agent will have something put in their contract – called a buy out clause.

  11. mwas

    July 14, 2011 at 8:08 am

    I thtink like in any other bis, compe is a must. So its the survival for the fittest and how long/hard your craws are. Modric, live your live…..move to chelsea !

  12. TJ

    July 14, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Luka Modric was my favorite Spurs player. I admire him as a player and continued to hold out hope he would remain a Spur. However, over the past month or two, it has become abundantly clear the two sides are not going to be able to coexist moving forward. Modric is going to go play for someone else and Spurs will be left to replace him. I don’t want to play the blame game because I don’t think either side is in the right. So, what do we do moving forward?

    I have a couple of ideas. The first is sell Modric to Chelsea (hope it’s everything you ever hoped for Luka, truly butterflies and gumdrops at Stamford Bridge) for a minimum of $22 million plus Drogba. Sign Souleymane Coulibay (16-year old Ivorian) to play and learn behind Drogba. Sell Defoe and use the money from his deal and some from the Modric deal to sign Pablo Osvaldo (Drogba and Osvaldo up top with Crouch and Pav backing them up). Insert Niko Kranjcar into Modric’s role and give both he and Gio dos Santos a chance to fill Luka’s role.

    A potential lineup moving forward without Modric (seems inevitable):
    Assou-Ekotto, Dawson, King, Kyle Walker (Rose, Corluka, Gallas, Kaboul back-up)
    Van der Vaart, Huddlestone, Sandro, Lennon (if playing a 4-5-1, play Niko or Gio)
    Drogba, Osvaldo (Crouch, Pav, Coulibay)

    I know this isn’t ideal but it seems we will be moving forward without Modric.

    • gregba

      July 14, 2011 at 8:31 am

      Has Bale been demoted to the reserve squad in your line-up?

      • TJ

        July 14, 2011 at 9:46 am

        My mistake and you are completely correct. I would insert Bale into Van der Vaart’s spot and move VDV inside replacing Huddlestone. Big oversight on my part. Although, it remains to be seen whether or not Bale will follow suit and demand out after Modric’s departure.

        Brian, as for Pienaar, I didn’t forget about him, I just don’t think he deserves a spot on this squad.

    • Brian

      July 14, 2011 at 9:19 am

      As is Steven Piennar apparently

    • Nate

      July 14, 2011 at 7:04 pm

      You can have Anelka, we’re keeping Drogba.

      Kranjcar hates Spurs and wants out, no way he stays/

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