Falling out of love with Luka Modric
Another month, more sickness. Shaking and shivering, my back is in absolute agony. Apparently my working day sit-down posture is the reason the viral infection has gone to town on my back muscles. I'm laying down in bed typing this on my i-phone, so hardly ideal. And best to apologise up front for what might (probably) turn out to be a less than perfect article in terms of crafted English. But don't feel sorry for me. I don't want any sympathy (it's actually tiresome how often I've been sick this summer). Keep that sympathy and bundle it up into a ball of hug, then embrace Luka Modric and pat him on his back, perhaps a kiss on each cheek. You know what I'm talking about. You've seen that type of hug on The Sopranos. Not the friendly hug. The other one. The 'goodbye hug because you're going to get whacked' hug. Not that Luka is about to walk into an empty basement with Daniel Levy pointing a gun to the back of his head.
There's no need for such fatalistic dramatics. A sit-down was enough to sort things out yesterday.
First thing I'm going to reference is Sky Sports and other members of the media (such as Shaun Custis). Daniel Levy could have pulled up in his Range Rover (it's a Rover, right?) holding the decapitated head of Modric and clearly stated, "He's never leaving Spurs. We've buried the rest of his body under the centre circle", but our esteemed friends with their relentless agenda would have updated their 'Modric time-line coverage' to tell the world that Luka was so desperate to get away, he decapitated himself and is blindly attempting to run to Stamford Bridge where he'll still be able to play, just not head the ball.
No matter what we do or say, they want to engineer a move way for the Croatian. Probably because it gives them something to write about, and in addition, how dare Levy buck the trend and not roll over.
Newspapers will always add negative spin because that's their agenda. They need to say something that will keep people reading/watching. It's just another form of entertainment.
What do we actually know about yesterday?
Before Luka arrived he's interviewed at an airport saying that he could not rule out a move to Chelsea. Two ways you can take this. He means it. Or he's told to say it so that when he arrives back in England and travels to WHL to meet Levy he can perhaps allow his agent to remain in the room after he leaves to negotiate an improved deal.
Wishful thinking considering he's already in a hefty contract and we have the upper hand.
If he means it, then it's still wishful thinking. He arrives at the Lane, he has his conversation, he leaves. Agent apparently does remain behind a little longer.
We then see SSN video footage of a rather smug Levy tell the reporter that Modric understands he won't be sold.
"We had a very good conversation and, as I've said previously, Luka Modric will not be sold"
Good conversation? One-sided good conversation? Good one-sided in favour of chairman?
"That's the end of it. As I said a few weeks ago, there's no further discussion on it"
So the conversation was simply a face-to-face sit-down reiterating what Levy has told the world via his club statement straight to Luka. You wont' be sold, end of.
"He's been on holiday but we've now had the conversation and he understands our position"
Modric 'understands', which means he accepts it.
"I'm just telling you what the position is - he won't be sold. I'm sure once he's back with his team-mates everything will be fine"
This to me might be an indication that although Modric understands and possibly even accepts the clubs standing, he's not happy with it. Levy ignored the question that attempted to gauge the player's opinion. He dismissed it. Which means he's dismissing any attempt by the player himself to force the club to give into any potential bid.
"It would make no difference. This is not about money. We're not selling our best players"
This is what it's about.
We have to make a stand and we have to lead from the front in terms of throwing the punches rather than backing up into a corner and being bullied. A derisory bid is hardly going to turn our head. The perpetual bullsh*t from the 'journalists', simply laughable. If we take everything at face value, then Luka understands and will now concentrate on training and playing. He can help himself massively by telling us that he's committed to Tottenham for the season ahead. Get the majority back on his side. End the speculation once and for all. Because the longer it goes on, the more pressure/suggestion that he might pull a Berba and strike. Because that's one way to create disharmony within the club and force the club to sell. Although the big difference here is contract length and the fact that part of me believes Luka to be more honourable that Dimi.
I've just seen that Nikky Vuksan (Modric's agent) has said the player is unlikely to ask for a transfer. He'll honour his contract. Even though you still get the overwhelming feeling he's doing that because he has no choice in the matter. Agent also saying that 'fighting the club' is not something he and the player wish to do. I never believe anything an agent states, but I wouldn't be far wrong to suggest that Levy has asked both Modric and Vuksan to go get their shinebox.
This is where the love is lost for me.
The fact that I thought Luka was different. When in fact he's much more like Carrick. Model professional, committed, but when it was time to move on, he looked to do just that. Once more the stepping stone that is Spurs. Once more players not possessing the patience or loyalty that we would wish for them to have. Pressures of modern career football, pressure of what people want him to do back in Croatia, pressures of agent advice and the harsh reality that moving to a club cemented in CL is less work and far closer to silverware than playing in a side that wants to cement itself in CL.
Levy is pulling a master-stroke because we don't lose from this scenario. Okay, so let's say he goes on strike (highly unlikely post-agent statement) and makes his position untenable to the point where we simply can't hold onto him because it would detrimental to us and his valuation. He still won't be sold for anything less than £40M. If no bid is made, he stays. He will then have no choice to play and play well. A year is a long time in football. Suitors can move on, target wise, if form dips.
But Levy has said what he's said and this is no ploy to gain that £40M 'alleged' asking price. Transfer requests and sulking - on this occasion - will probably be dealt with by handing the player a cushion and a firm pointing to the bench. His international career will suffer. He knows it. More fool him for sigining a long term contract.
If he commits, plays and plays out of his skin - it's win, win again. Valuation remains high and we do well on the pitch. And a year is a long time in football. This time next summer we could be preparing ourselves for a season in the CL. He might be more than content to stay. If he's not, then we've got what we wanted out of him and we can reinvest our money.
If all of this has simply been about a renewed contract and nothing else (Rooneyesque style) then once more we can all shake our heads in unison that players believe themselves to be bigger than the clubs they play for. Or at least more important. Clubs are just vehicles for their progression.
Much like Rooney had to prove himself after his apparent lack of loyalty, Luka has to do the same. He's completely tainted the love I had for him. But I'm glad because it's reminded me that it's a rare occasion these days to find a player that epitomises the essence of the club. It's mostly fantasy unless you're a club that does not know of the struggles to reach and remain in the upper tier of your domestic league. Players will always come and go and we'll always get over it and move onto the next one because we are in love with Tottenham and occasional have one-night stands with the players (not literally, unless you're female and you frequent Faces nightclub).
In this instance, the club is bigger, far bigger than the player. And Luka will have to deal with that decisive fact and put this summer of discontent behind him and prove he's the player worthy not of a £40M price tag but one worthy to be wearing the Lilywhite shirt. The only thing that deserves worship.