Andre Villas Boas arrived at White Hart Lane with the intention of continuing Tottenham’s transformation into title contenders.
It now seems that the Portuguese coach will have to do that without the club’s best player.
Luka Modric is reported to have signed a four year deal with Real Madrid, a transfer that would see the Croatian link up with AVB’s former mentor Jose Mourinho.
If you believe what the papers say, the transfer fee will be in the region of £35 million.
Last season Tottenham refused a £40 million offer from Chelsea and, given that Modric had solid Premier League and Euro 2012 campaigns, it is difficult to see why his value has dropped.
Modric’s departure is all the more ironic given that Chelsea made three attempts to sign the playmaker whilst under the leadership of Villas Boas.
Despite the Croatia captain’s obvious talent, it seems that his talents will be better utilised away from the Bernabéu. The La Liga champions already have an imperious midfield—one that Kaka has struggled to cement a position in.
The 2007 world player of the year has been hindered by injury and poor form since his €65 million arrival from AC Milan, but Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Xabi Alonso and Lassana Diarra have proven themselves to be worthy replacements. Even Nuri Şahin has struggled to make an impression in Mourinho’s team.
Having such talent in the centre of midfield does not bode well for Luka Modric. When playing for Tottenham, Croatia and even Dinamo Zagreb, his importance in unparalleled by his teammates. As such, he has always played with the team revolving around him.
With Ronaldo, Benzema and Ozil in the same team that will not be the case for Modric.
It would be, however, if he stayed at White Hart Lane, or signed for Chelsea or Manchester United.
It is difficult to see what Modric’s role would be for Real Madrid. He is fantastic at holding up the ball and picking a fanciful pass, but so is Xabi Alonso. He is excellent at creating goal scoring opportunities, but so is Ozil.
What’s more, Xabi Alonso and Ozil both have more to their games than Modric. Alonso is a fantastic ball winner, whereas Modric is too lightweight. Ozil is a fantastic dribbler of the ball, that is not a role that Modric has played before.
In short, he does not have the same physical presence as Khedira, Alonso or Diarra, and his attacking play is not as good as Ozil’s or Kaka’s.
It is a view point shared by former Real Madrid midfielder Jose Maria Guti. The Evening Standard reports him saying:
"He hasn't even been the key man for Tottenham. I don't think he's done enough to play for Madrid. He's very talented but I don't think he's at the same level as [David] Silva (another Real Madrid target). He's shown that he is very good at Tottenham and Croatia when you see flashes of the quality in his boots."
Despite such issues, Davor Suker has backed his fellow countryman to succeed with Los Blancos. The golden boot winner at the 1998 World Cup said:
"As a future president of Croatian football, I'd love to see Luka Modric join Real Madrid. He has the quality and the ability to play for a big club like Real. But it is a question I will pose with my heart to Mourinho and Perez," according to goal.com.