Molby: Spurs have lost a special talent in Modric

It looks as though Luka Modric has finally left Tottenham for Real Madrid, a year after he initially wanted to leave White Hart Lane for Chelsea.

Molby: Spurs have lost a special talent in Modric

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FOOTBALL 2012 Tottenham - Modric

Tottenham may be getting £30 million or more, but they will find it very hard to replace the little Croatian at all, never mind in the final few days of the transfer window.

Modric was the player who controlled the tempo and the direction of Tottenham's play beautifully. He's a very clever player that should have no trouble fitting in with the other world class players at Real Madrid.

Some people will point to his tally of goals and assists over the four years he was at Spurs and say it could be better, but that misses the point of what a player like Modric is all about. He is in the team to keep possession, to always be available to receive the ball and to turn defence into attack with a clever pass. It sounds simple, but players who can do that important job as well as he can are so hard to come by.

If Tottenham want to compete among the top clubs then they need to find a player who can fill that role and quickly. Finding a player with that rare talent will be tough.

If they do not go into the transfer market to fill the vacancy, they may try and drop Rafael van der Vaart deeper. I am not sure how well that would work. The Dutchman is very talented, but he is not as consistent as Modric and rarely seems to play the full 90 minutes of a match.

Quite often, Modric will be the one who starts an attack, who gets the team going, but his contribution might not be shown in the highlights of the eventual goal.

All of the top clubs have a player who is able to dictate the flow of the game. Manchester City have David Silva, while Eden Hazard, Shinji Kagawa and Santi Cazorla have all been signed by the other top clubs this summer in order to do the same. What those players all have in common is that natural awareness, that innate instinct for knowing where to be in relation to the ball and what position they are in as they receive it. It's almost impossible to coach that type of thing into a player. It's something you are just born with.

It is interesting that now everyone is putting such a high premium on this type of player. A few years ago, everybody was desperate to sign defensive midfielders who would sit in front of the defence after seeing the success Chelsea had with Claude Makelele in that position. The main focus was on stopping the opposition scoring.

Now everyone wants a match-winner, that special player who can turn a game on its head with one pass. It is encouraging that teams are placing the priority on attack this way at the moment. It means we could see a lot more matches between top sides being more open, with each team backing themselves to score more than their opponents.

It is evidence of how football is constantly changing and evolving. Different styles will come and go, and demand for certain types of player will rise and fall accordingly, but there should always be a place in the game for players like Luka Modric.

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