In our latest instalment of the Transfer Flashback series, we take a look at Luka Modric’s departure from Tottenham to Real Madrid, as another Spurs star seeks a new challenge away from North London.
Real Madrid coming after your best players is nothing new for Tottenham Hotspur – with Gareth Bale forming a path for Christian Eriksen to potentially follow, after months of speculation linking the Danish international with a move to Spain.
But Bale wasn’t the first to make the trip from North London to the Spanish capital, with a sale back in 2012 blazing something of a trail for Tottenham’s brighter talents.
Luka Modric arrived from Dinamo Zagreb off the back of helping Croatia reach the quarter-finals of the European Championships in 2008, and had an instant impact at Spurs, recording five goals and 10 assists in his debut season.
While he was never to better those figures in terms of goal involvement – even for Madrid – by the time the Spanish giants came calling, he was nevertheless playing his best football in a Spurs side that had recorded two top-four finishes in the Premier League in three years – which was, back then, their best-ever performance since the league’s 1992 inception.
Ratings from WhoScored gave Modric’s performances in the league during the 2011/12 season an average rating of 7.59 – a figure not topped in a domestic league campaign since.
He was heavily involved in getting Spurs into the Champions League in 2010, scoring in a 3-0 group stage victory over Werder Bremen as they made the quarter-finals, where they would be hammered 5-0 on aggregate by his future employers.
While Real Madrid’s capture of the Croatian put an end to Modric’s efforts to Spurs’ cause, there are potential similarities with a current star in Eriksen seeking a new challenge despite the team making recent improvements domestically and in Europe.
Spurs have managed to stave off interest in Eriksen until at least the winter, which potentially suggests that the club are eager not to let a star player go with the club seemingly on the up – off the back of their first Champions League final last season, and a fourth successive top-four finish.
Eriksen’s haul of 10 goals and 17 assists in 2018/19 makes it easy to recognise the value that he brings to the Spurs midfield, and would provide a fairly simple argument for Tottenham wishing to retain his services for the foreseeable future.
Though with Modric able to receive the Ballon d’Or during his time in Spain, there is arguably an equally justifiable motive for Eriksen to look for something new, having not won any silverware since moving to Tottenham.
And depending on which way this particular saga goes, it will become apparent whether Spurs have learnt their lesson since selling Modric seven years ago.
Spurs fans, where would you be had you kept hold of Modric? Will Eriksen stay beyond January? Let us know in the comments below!
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