When title-chasing Chelsea make a improved £27million bid for your star player most clubs could be forgiven for admitting defeat and accepting the inevitable.
But when faced with the Stamford Bridge side’s pursuit of Luka Modric, Tottenhamand Daniel Levy have stood firm. Is this an admirable resistance from the Spurs chairman or a big mistake?
Tottenham have long been dreaming of a regular place in the top four and the Champions League. The obvious way to increase their chances of competing at the top is to keep your best players and few have been as impressive in a Spurs shirt as Luka Modric. The Croatian playmaker was one of the players of the season across the Premier League last term and such form has seen Chelsea make two failed bids (of £22m and then £27m). Despite reports that Chelsea will make a fresh bid for the player and include Yossi Benayoun in a swap deal, Tottenham look like having a good chance of holding onto their wantaway star.
Chelsea’s approaches for Modric have always been met with the firmest of rebuffs from their London rivals. Despite the player making it clear he wanted to leave and even claiming that Spurs had gone against a verbal agreement, Levy has insisted that Modric will not be sold at any price. But is Levy right to take a zero tolerance approach?
It is a risky approach but Levy’s stance shows a firm commitment to the cause at Tottenham. Spurs will never develop if the likes of Modric are sold and especially if the midfielder only moves across London to close rivals and league opponents. Modric’s ability to dictate games in pockets of space was influential to Spurs last season. The fact that he only scored three goals and assisted another three in 32 league appearances doesn’t tell the whole story as to how important Modric is to Spurs. Their resistance also sends out a message of intent to the footballing world that Spurs are building a team ready to fight for honours over the next few years.
There are also factors of loyalty and business to consider. Back in May 2010 Modric signed a new six-year deal, whereby he committed himself to Spurs and in the return the club put their faith (and money) into the fact he would continue to perform successfully for them over many years. To demand a transfer only a year later raises serious questions over why he put pen to paper on such a long deal (even with the reported verbal agreement made to consider any bids from bigger clubs when he signed the deal).
With Spurs looking likely to turn down any further approaches and still have Modric at the start of the season, should other clubs follow suit? Many clubs are faced with the prospect of their players demanding moves to bigger clubs but should the likes of Carlos Tevez at Manchester City or Samir Nasri at Arsenal show a sense of loyalty and be prepared to fight for their clubs in the new season? When faced with an under-contract star kicking up a fuss, chairman and managers could follow Levy’s example at Spurs and not let one player dictate the transfer dealings or seasons plans at a club.
But is it a good plan for clubs to realistically follow? By insisting that Modric stays Levy is risking the player losing all interest and focus on the pitch and suddenly a £27million packet in the bank balance would look a long way off if this transfer saga effects his form. Arsenal have taken a similar approach for years with their influential captain Cesc Fabregas. Their insistence that the World Cup winner stays at the Emirates may have meant that the club has kept hold of their best player but this transfer saga has slowly worn away at the club and Fabregas’ return to Barcelona has now become inevitable. If the talk of a move to Chelsea continues then how long will Levy let it have an effect on the pitch?
Tottenham are playing a risky game but Levy and Spurs can be commended for trying to keep hold of their best players. If Modric can commit to the club and put all the transfer talk behind him, then their resistance will be a fantastic move for Tottenham and set an example for clubs across England.
Should Levy let Modric go or continue to reject any approaches? If you want to read more of my bite size, 140 character views and thoughts follow me on Twitter @jennyk5