Sunday, 17 July 2011

Out of Luka

A lot can happen in twelve months. In that time, the Earth can complete it's orbit around the sun. Jedward can manage to go from annoying Britain on Simon Cowell's platform to achieving the same on a European stage, via the platform of Eurovision. In the space of a year, David Gilmour's son can 'achieve remorse' through good behaviour, and end his recent stint behind bars. And, within twelve months, Luka Modric can go from being content at White Hart Lane to holding back the desire to punch Daniel Levy square between the eyes.

Modric has been tracked by Chelsea all Summer

Spanning back twelve months and Luka's aforementioned happiness at Tottenham Hotspur, and things can't be better for Spurs. After qualifying for the Champions League after a fourth place league reward, Modric signalled his intention to further push Tottenham amongst the brightest and best within World Football by penning a six-year contract. Such intent from a talisman is a significant flexing of the proverbial muscles, especially considering the tall order that faced Tottenham dead in the eye. Manchester City's millions were set to pounce on the command of Roberto Mancini, whilst Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea sat firm in their stools around the round-table for the top four.

Tottenham were merely visitors to that table following from Liverpool's premature departure from the elite. To maintain their spot, amongst heavy pressure to pass on the throne, Spurs' main assets had to be on board, along with new arrivals. Modric appeared determined to lead Tottenham's defence of the throne, a startling thought to Mancini's task. Whilst the bookies made Tottenham the underdogs to Manchester City to claim the remaining spot in the expected top four, having Modric on-side pushed the battle onto a level playing field.

But, to no surprise, the bookies came out on top. Mancini's men broke Tottenham's short stay. As Spurs laid in fifth place following a draining and dramatic tale amongst the elite of Europe, their best laid plans had started to untangle. Barking to the high heavens like a bloodhound at full moon, Levy lead the call to keep his talents at the club. But, with just a Europa League spot to offer out, Luka Modric has decided that a second battle with Manchester City (and King Kenny's resurgent Liverpool) is one not worth leading the line for. Luka Modric wants out of White Hart Lane.

Luka's 'saga' has led to a sharp tongue lashing from Daniel Levy, who has stood firm in the public eye over the past month to ignore the Croatian's plea to leave the club. Following on form a £22 Million bid from local rivals Chelsea, Levy warned any forthcoming bids to expect to be hurled in the bin, stating an increased bid 'would not make any difference'. Despite a transfer request from Luka and a planned bid exceeding £30 Million from Chelsea, Levy's stance hasn't changed.

His ambition to keep his better players would normally be something to be admired. Whilst Aston Villa sit in the sandbox having their favourites chocolates taken from the playground bullies, Tottenham have fought back. On any other occasion, this would have been seen as a commendable act from a club willing to still keep up it's fight to be one of England's best, refusing to believe in the folk-law script hailing a top four clique, allowing it to sit on top of English Football's heirachy. Under the leadership of Levy, though, it seems bitter and petty. His openly public fued with Modric appears to be leaked from just one side of the story. Levy's intenton to make Modric understand he's not going anywhere has backfired. You get the sense that he'd refuse Modric the chance to play, just because it was Levy's ball being used.

After all, Tottenham have hardly faced up to their belief that they can match Modric's ambition.  As the White Hart Lane bosses flick through the blinds watching their neighbours Arsenal struggle over defensive woes which hold them back from progression, Harry Redknapp is struggling to paper over the mirroring cracks that refused Tottenham their chance to remain seated at the round-table.

The man at the centre of this, of course, is Gomes. Erratic, Eccentric and Comical, the Tottenham shot-stopper has been let off lightly by the national press, who seem engaged in their usual routine of hitting Wenger with every stick and stone they lay their hands on regarding Almunia and co, despite Gomes being just as unreliable. In a world where Dzeko can fail to find his feet after a near £30 Million move yet not be seen on any newspaper, however, it's not really a surprise. Dzeko doesn't read as well as Torres in the Sun, anyway.

Redknapp's belief to have found the answer to just one of Tottenham's problems, though, seems a little desperate and out-dated. In 40 year-old Brad Friedel, Redknapp believes he's solved a problem. I suspect if he'd had any involvement with solving the Problem of the frolicsome Maria, we'd have seen rivalling competition to Charlie Sheen befitting of a talent-show final. Whilst Friedel has played in one of the most prestigious leagues in the world for some time, his arrival at a side chasing Champions League qualification holds no lasting ambition or fierce signals to competing others.

Redknapp and Levy maintain desperate to hold on to Luka

And despite Redknapp's January Auction at the Spanish Striker's Convention, no solution has been found to fuel their strike-force, leaving all the work to Tottenham's midfield. Bale, Van Der Vaart and the hotly followed Modric have felt the focus of the Lane's faithful drag down on their shoulders, quite like the drunkard stumbling out of the nightclub, before resorting on her boyfriend for a 'lift' home. It's hard to see why Modric should be happy staying for such expectancy when those sinking problems around him are simply hidden from view rather than fixed.

Across London, new Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas is determined to still secure Modric for the new era at Stamford Bridge. Whilst it may seem a perfect move for Chelsea, it still doesn't seem the ideal move for Luka. Travelling north, Manchester United lurk in the market for a new midfielder to cover the heavy loss of recently retired Paul Scholes. Despite his frailties in tackling, Scholes' range of passing, precision and creativity will be an incredible loss to Ferguson's attempt at title number twenty. Luka's pleas for a move from Spurs should have alerted Sir Alex and his transfer budget, already hit by the signatures of Young, De Gea and Jones. Modric's style of football could accommodate the loss of Scholes perfectly, whilst offering more consistency in terms of fitness. Quite why United haven't bid for Modric yet is a mystery.

Manchester United and Tottenham have had enough recent encounters to know how the other likes to conduct their business. Michael Carrick and more recently Dimitar Berbatov's moves to Old Trafford have lived long in the memory of Spurs fans, who would flinch at the thought of another star player moving to Ferguson's side. Despite this, the one positive from Tottenham's perspective is the relentless stance held not just by Levy but by manager Harry Redknapp, who is yet to lose a star player from White Hart Lane. His record of holding on to his better players where possible is quite outstanding. He's never had to deal with the looming pressure of his star wanting to leave, though.

And, despite the likelihood of Redknapp leaving next season to follow on from Capello as England manager, we could finally witness how Harry Redknapp will cope with a player wanting to leave, yet holding such ability to push them on to outstanding glory. Standing in untested waters, Harry may have to turn to those with a more rational and reasoned viewpoint. 63336, the text service for 'Any Question Answered' recommends Luka to stay at Tottenham, as 'it's better to be a bigger fish in a small pond'.

I guess that's settled, then.


If you liked this blog, follow us on Twitter for further updates on future blogs.

No comments:

Post a Comment