Early Doors

Will Modric move on?

Early Doors

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We are now more than two weeks into the summer transfer window and things are certainly happening.

While the purchases of Jordan Henderson and Phil Jones may be the only big-money moves within the Premier League thus far, and yesterday's confirmation of Kevin Nolan's switch to West Ham and Sotirios Kyrgiakos extending his Liverpool contract may hardly get the pulse racing, there is plenty of other stuff going on to get stuck into. If Early Doors were James Herriot, it would be elbow deep.

For starters, Barcelona president Sandro Rosell stirred things up nicely in the ongoing Cesc Fabregas Saga, a story dragged out for so long it makes Don Quixote seem like Desperate Dan.

"If last summer we offered 40 million euros (£36m) for Cesc, and since then there has been wear and tear, now he's worth less," Rosell said.

"In the case that we were interested, our offer would be reasonable. We would not go overboard."

Rosell's claim that Fabregas is not worth as much as he was this time last year may be mischievous - as was his extra dig at rivals Real Madrid - but it is a fair assertion. Following a year in which the Arsenal captain has not performed as well as previous seasons, has suffered more injury problems and drawn 12 months closer to the end of his contract, of course his value is going to drop. ED is starting to think that maybe Barca have just gone off him now.

However, that is nothing compared to the mischief caused by Chelsea's £22m bid for Tottenham playmaker Luka Modric. The bid was swiftly rejected, although the Blues are now said to be coming back with an improved offer of £25m, while Manchester City are reported by at least one paper to be wading in with a £30m offer. And this is even before Manchester United have got themselves involved.

It is interesting that after all the mid-season hype surrounding Gareth Bale that it is his team-mate Modric who is the subject of all the attention now. The Welshman's glorious flashes of brilliance last season saw him talked about as one of the hottest properties in world football, and even catapulted him to the PFA Player of the Year award. That prize was the equivalent of Anthony Hopkins winning the best actor Oscar for Silence of the Lambs, despite his turn as Hannibal Lecter lasting little more than 16 minutes.

By contrast, Modric's remarkably consistent midfield scheming eventually won him the club's Player of the Season gong. Like Javier Bardem's performance in No Country For Old Men that earned him a Best Supporting Actor statuette, Modric's was a much more deserving award for a contribution which formed the very backbone of the end product.

The little Croatian magician by have only bagged three goals and as many assists in the Premier League last season (Peter Crouch set up nine goals last term, and even Roman Pavlyuchenko teed up four), but his role is a one hard to define on sheer statistics alone.

The bid was derided as "ridiculous" by Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, who we all know is a man who only has to say something once about a transfer and the matter is closed. Right? Oh.

ED has lost count of the number of times Redknapp has scotched talk of signing a player, only to be stood next to the same man a few days later, helping them hold up their new box-fresh jersey and beaming for the cameras.

Similarly, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is believed to have said it would take an astronomical figure for him to part with Modric. But Levy is known to be a man who drives a hard bargain. When Manchester United came knocking for Dimitar Berbatov, he threatened to report the Red Devils to the FA for tapping up the Bulgarian striker, only to eventually have his silence bought with a fee that would have been a British transfer record were it not for Robinho's surprise arrival at Man City on the same transfer deadline day.

Perhaps the most telling line has come from Modric's agent, Nikki Arthur Vuksan. While agreeing that the Chelsea offer for his client was well below his value, he did leave the door open for something to happen.

He said: "If an offer comes to the club that they are happy to accept, then he is willing to talk to the club. Let's see what happens."

There is plenty of time left for a deluge of offers to come in for Modric. Will Tottenham be able to resist?

- - -

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I don't feel I'm in rehab. I had no hesitation about managing in the Championship, it's very competitive and very well respected abroad. I could have waited, I could have taken up offers I had from abroad, but I like a challenge. I am willing to take risks, that's why I fall flat on my face sometimes." - Steve McClaren insists he is no longer atoning for his disastrous reign as England manager now he is the boss of Nottingham Forest.

FOREIGN VIEW: "There are always many candidates for the Champions League final and the Congress but this is to mark the special year of the English FA. This may seem exceptional but I think it was important for us to respect this anniversary of our game." - UEFA president Michel Platini announces that Wembley will host the 2013 Champions League final, just two years after hosting this year's showpiece, to mark the FA's 150th anniversary. The fact that UEFA could not get away with charging upwards of £150 per ticket (plus £26 booking fee, naturally) anywhere else is, of course, irrelevant.

COMING UP: Alex McLeish has been confirmed as Aston Villa's new manager today, so stay tuned for the latest on that as well as the release of the 2011/12 Premier League and Football League fixtures.

Paul Parker and Jim White will be dropping lyrical bombs in their latest blogs for us, and we'll be bringing you the results of our poll to determine the two greatest centre-backs in Premier League history.

As for live action, we'll have full coverage of the second day of the third Test between England and Sri Lanka at the Rose Bowl and the second day's play in the US Open at the Congressional.

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