Tottenham fury as Luka Modric goes AWOL
Luka Modric’s future could become clearer on Monday with a meeting scheduled between his representatives and Real Madrid after the midfielder refused to take part in Tottenham Hotspur’s pre-season tour to the United States.
Spurs are adamant that Real have to offer close to £40 million for Modric and have again reminded the player that although they are finally prepared to sell he has four years left on his contract and will only go if the asking price is met.
The Premier League club are hugely disappointed with Modric over his decision not to board the team flight to Los Angeles on Saturday.
He will already be fined for refusing to train on Friday - two weeks’ wages amounting to around £80,000 - with further disciplinary action now planned.
Modric’s whereabouts were unknown by Spurs on Sunday although it is understood he may have returned home to Croatia as he contemplates finally handing in a transfer request.
Much may depend on the outcome of Monday’s meeting with Real so far refusing to go beyond the £27 million - including add-ons - that they have already bid for Modric who is also wanted by Paris St-Germain and Chelsea although Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will not sell to another Premier League club.
On Sunday, Tottenham head coach Andre Villas-Boas criticised Modric for his disruptive behaviour.
“I think Modric is wrong,” he said. “This (refusal to fly) will go against him. He has worsened the situation with what he is doing and now the chairman is very angry.”
Villas-Boas admitted selling Modric would be a “big loss” and has already warned the 26 year-old of Spurs’ determination to achieve the right price for him and the club is braced for a transfer saga that could run until the window closes.
Modric’s advisers, however, hope to move things along on Monday and are trying to persuade Real to raise their bid.
Levy has consistently proved to be not only a stubborn negotiator but a man who will dig in his heels if needs to be - as he proved when stating that Modric was not for sale at any price last year and had to stay despite a series of offers from Chelsea culminating in a bid of £40 million. In return, Modric refused to sign a new contract.
Spurs’ failure to qualify for the Champions League and the player’s continued determination to leave have changed matters with the club keen to raise funds to continue their rebuilding under Villas-Boas, who succeeded Harry Redknapp earlier this month.
Spurs have been interested in signing Joao Moutinho as Modric’s replacement but are prepared to walk away from the deal because of Porto’s insistence that the midfielder is worth £24 million. Porto have a dilemma, however, because interest in their striker Hulk, who they want to sell, has waned over the summer.
Villas-Boas has already acquired midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, from Hoffenheim, and Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen while negotiations continue to agree a permanent deal to sign the Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor. If Modric is sold, a replacement will be sought.
Spurs face LA Galaxy on Tuesday and then travel to the East Coast to play Liverpool and New York Red Bulls before returning to London a week on Tuesday.
Modric has told his advisers that he wants to join Real, rather than Chelsea or Paris St-Germain, who are the third club who have expressed an interest in acquiring him.
Coincidentally, Chelsea faced PSG on Sunday night in a friendly in New York - the first ever football match to be played at the Yankees Stadium - with their former manager Carlo Ancelotti in charge of the French club.
Ancelotti has been given significant funds to turn PSG into a force in European football and although his two big summer signings - Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, both signed from AC Milan - were not available to face Chelsea, the former will join up with his new team on Tuesday while the latter prepares to play for Brazil in the Olympics.
PSG, who signed Alex from Chelsea in January, also showed a tentative interest in signing John Terry but accept that it will be impossible, at present, to acquire the Chelsea captain who flew into New York on Friday after being given time off following his recent trial for allegedly racially abusing Anton Ferdinand. Terry was acquitted.