The Croat seemingly wants to leave Tottenham, with Chelsea weighing in with offers for the player. The first thing this shows is how little teams care about tapping up these days .More worryingly, it suggests everyone is at it. It seems probable, though it is of course speculation, that Chelsea have engaged in the same tactics they used to illegally approach Ashley Cole when he was at Arsenal in 2005.
But who needs rules and regulations when everyone is keen to break them? As one journalist pointed out in the Telegraph this week, it seems only sensible to do away with transfer fees altogether, and thus remove the hysteria over tapping up.
Back to Modric though, and Harry Redknapp is guilty of his usual evasiveness and “it wasn’t me, guv” act. He was the first to pile the pressure on Daniel Levy to make clear that the midfielder wouldn’t be leaving the club when rumours of a Chelsea bid first surfaced. Levy subsequently acceded to his manager’s demands, and made clear that the player wouldn’t be allowed to leave.
Now that he seemingly has been shown how much the player wants to leave the club, Redknapp has changed his approach to Modric, and said that he could do with the money to improve the squad. This is probably typical posturing, making sure that he can’t be seen as having lost the battle to keep the player, and therefore making out as though it was what he wanted all along. For Levy this is a predicament, as he has backed himself into a corner and letting the player go will be a major blow to his personal credibility.
And for Spurs, what to do with a player who wants to leave? Ultimately the reality is that a player who doesn’t want to play for you anymore, as with an employee who doesn’t want to work for a company anymore, is not worth holding onto.
A club which is successful requires players who are loyal to the club and can’t envisage a future elsewhere. Barcelona’s players would not countenance moving abroad, and neither would those of Real Madrid, or Manchester United, or the Arsenal side of the early 2000s. Tottenham aspire to be one of the top sides in the UK, and have the potential to be a top four side and regular title challenger. Whilst rivals, Arsenal apart, spend big to strengthen, the UEFA financial fair play rules will hit Manchester City and Chelsea’s ability to compete. Considering that the success of these sides is based on spending big on proven established players like Modric, it will be the impact of these rules which restricts such spending. What we are witnessing this year is a major influx of purchases for big money whilst teams still can. From this season, accounts will count towards the first season of the fair play rules being implemented.
For Tottenham what this means is that they must stay competitive. Selling Modric and bringing in other players such as Lasanna Diarra or Guiseppe Rossi, who they have chased for some time, will mean they have a team and squad which can do precisely that. For Levy, he has a team which is better run financially than almost all of their main rivals, and that will be rewarded in the age of financial fair play.
For now, it is about remaining competitive and in contention for the big trophies. It is something which Spurs have the potential to do, and if it means sacrificing their pride to sell Modric, that’s a price well worth paying.