Spurs have rejected a fresh bid of £30.4million from Real Madrid for Luka Modric and continue to insist that their valuation of £40million must be met in full.
It means that Modric’s dream move to Real this summer has reached an impasse despite a series of meetings between the Croatian’s representatives and the Spanish champions during which terms on a five-year contract, including wages, were agreed.
Real have now informed Spurs that they will pursue other targets, although this is likely to be a piece of brinkmanship as they try and persuade the Premier League club’s chairman, Daniel Levy, to lower his asking price for a player determined to leave.
Tottenham have consistently stated that they will not stand in the 26 year-old’s way – as they did last summer when they refused a series of bids from Chelsea culminating in an offer of £40million – even though he has four years left on his contract.
Paris St-Germain will meet Chelsea’s asking price for Modric, which has increased Levy’s determination to get the fee he wants, and while Chelsea remain interested Spurs will not sell to another Premier League club.
The latest Real offer represents the 30million euros (£24million) they originally offered plus another 8million euros in bonus money spread over the duration of the five years of the contract they have offered Modric, who will receive a huge increase in the basic £40,000-a-week salary he currently earns at Spurs.
Spurs have offered him a new deal, in which he would double his money but Modric has refused as he seeks a move. The 8million euro payment from Real as part of the transfer fee is not contingent on the club winning trophies but, even so, still falls far short of Spurs’ valuation.
There have been claims from Croatia that a deal was agreed at £35million for Modric but Spurs are adamant that is not the case. Modric’s former club, Dinamo Zagreb, who sold him for £16.5million, will receive a percentage of any sell-on fee, thought to amount to around £2million if Spurs’ asking price is met.
Modric is being heavily fined for failing to train and then failing to board the team flight to the United States for a pre-season tour which ended on Tuesday with a match against the New York Red Bulls for whom former Everton midfielder Tim Cahill was due to make his debut.
Despite the fractious nature of the saga, Spurs are not completely resigned to losing Modric and head coach Andre Villas-Boas will welcome him back into the squad when they return to London. Modric has been training with Steven Pienaar, who did not go on the tour as his £4million move to Everton was being finalised.
Villas-Boas’s priority on his return will be to try and secure a striker.
Negotiations to sign Emmanuel Adebayor have dragged on despite a fee, of around £5m, being agreed with Manchester City for the striker. However, it’s believed Adebayor is demanding wages on the same scale as the £150,000-a-week basic he earned at City which Spurs are refusing to pay.
If a resolution is not found soon then Spurs will turn to other targets as the club cannot afford to go into the new season with Jermain Defoe – currently on compassionate leave after the death of his cousin – as the only senior striker.
Villas-Boas is already looking at other attacking options, and not just a central striker, with a bid for either Shakhtar Donetsk's Willian who is available for £20million or Moussa Dembele, who Fulham want £15million for, likely.
With the signing of Jan Vertonghen, from Ajax for £9.5million, Villas-Boas has to also settle on a preferred central defensive partnership – with Michael Dawson, Younes Kaboul and William Gallas also at the club – and said: “We have a lot of excellent central defenders. Hopefully we will decide what to do with them in the next couple of days.”
Vertonghen said that he was “very happy” with his move to Spurs and added that he was “not afraid” of the competition he faces for a place in the starting line-up.
"It will be difficult for me to break into the team without a doubt. It's a big club and every big club there is a lot of competition,” he said.