Early Doors

Modric exit feels inevitable

Early Doors

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"If somebody comes to the club and the offer is good for me and acceptable to them, then I want to leave. I want to leave Tottenham as friends. I have enjoyed my time there, but now it is right for me to look at another club... I won't ask for a transfer, no. That would be disrespectful. I hope they can reach an agreement that is satisfactory for everyone."

So said Luka Modric when he revealed his desire to leave Tottenham for Chelsea three weeks ago. It was all very even-handed and reasonable. Having had a first taste of the latter stages of the Champions League last season, the 25-year-old wants more, and he had the opportunity to do so again at a club that would also be bona fide title contenders.

But he would not kick up a fuss if he didn't get his way. He wanted to do right by Spurs, and ensure they did well out of any deal to sell him.

Well, Tottenham had an offer of £22 million from Stamford Bridge, and decided it was not satisfactory. Instead they disdainfully rejected the offer, and since then chairman Daniel Levy and manager Harry Redknapp have spent much of their pre-season continually stating the little Croatian is going nowhere. They have refuted the talk so many times, in fact, that it is starting to seem inevitable that the little Croatian magician will indeed leave. If you hear something repeated often enough, you can't help but start to believe it.

Now, in the face of Tottenham's staunch rebuttal of interest from the Blues, Modric has launched Phase Two of his bid to make the move across London by claiming Levy has gone back on a gentleman's agreement the pair made last summer.

He told Croatian newspaper Sportske Novosti: "A lot has been published in the press about the meeting with Levy, who gave the public a twisted account of what happened. I must say that I am genuinely disappointed about what Levy said to me. He didn't care about what I was telling him. It all only convinced me further that I was right to consider moving on to another club.

"I reminded the chairman of our gentleman's agreement when we were in Dubrovnik last summer and I agreed a contract extension with Tottenham.

"Then I had an open chat with Levy - that if a bigger club came in with a concrete offer, we would consider it and agree the best solution for all concerned.

"The chairman said, 'OK, we'll sit and talk [about any offers]'. Now Levy doesn't want to talk to me and said there is no possibility that I can leave Spurs.

"He threatened me - he said if I didn't accept the club's stance, they would make me sit on the bench or in the stands."

Spurs have denied the existence of such an accord, which Modric also referred to last month when making his desire to leave known. And that is the problem with unrecorded 'gentleman's agreements': they are easy to make up, and just as easy to deny. Somebody is not telling the truth.

Modric's claim has turned this saga sour. Now he has hit out at the club's hierarchy, it seems crushingly inevitable that the playmaker will leave the club. While in theory a club can deploy a player under contract with them as they please, in practice such a threat would surely not be carried out. At one time or another fans of most clubs will have angrily said they would be happy for a wantaway player to 'rot in the reserves' rather than leave to strengthen a rival, but treating Modric as such next season would cast a shadow over the squad and create an uncomfortable atmosphere at White Hart Lane.

Modric is a popular figure in N17, so much so that he was named the club's Player of the Year ahead of PFA award winner Gareth Bale. To make a pariah of him would not sit well.

When Wayne Rooney publicly announced his desire to leave Manchester United last season, his words were greeted with a sympathetic bafflement from Alex Ferguson, and the player was given time off to reflect upon his decision, which he eventually reversed and was rewarded with a bumper new contract. The window of opportunity for Spurs to do something similar with Modric now appears closed.

Tottenham are yet to make any significant outfield signings in this summer transfer window, so at this point to deny themselves the use of Modric with nothing in the way of compensation - in this case to the tune of £25m or more - would be unthinkable.

With a little more than seven weeks until the transfer deadline, it would take a masterstroke of man-management to keep Modric at the club now. Chelsea are yet to come back with an improved offer, and the player has an ace up his sleeve: he is still to hand in an official transfer request.

Usually when a player is sold without putting their desire to leave in writing they are due a 'loyalty bonus' on departure for being sold against their will. Whether or not Modric has been holding out for this is not clear, but he may soon have to waive it if he is going to get his way, despite his agent's insistence just a few days ago that he would do no such thing.

But, even if Modric does not fill out the form, it looks unlikely at this point that Spurs will be able to keep their man. Like so many protracted transfer sagas involving top players, Early Doors would just like it done sooner rather than later.

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FOREIGN VIEW: On the same day Trabzonspor's chairman was arrested as the investigation into the Turkish match-fixing scandal continues, K-League authorities announced they will introduce polygraph testing as part of a drive to drag South Korean football out of a deep-rooted match-fixing scandal. The league authorities have decided that players suspected of wrongdoing would be asked to take a lie detector test, while all clubs would be required to submit their plans to prevent such scandals.

COMING UP: Paul Parker will be filing his latest blog later today, while we'll be running down the candidates in our poll to select a left winger for our greatest Premier League XI.

Tonight at 1:45am you can follow live coverage of Argentina's must-win clash with Costa Rica in the Copa America.

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