Who Should Sign Tottenham's Modric? Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid Or PSG?
Last Thursday evening, somewhere in the deepest, darkest depths of Poznan's Municipal Stadium, Slaven Bilic found himself with a difficult decision to make. Having watched his Croatia side be comprehensively outplayed by the Italians for forty-five minutes, he knew he had to shuffle his pack in order to keep alive his country's hopes of qualification from a group that contained two of the powerhouses of international football. Tellingly, Bilic found the answer to this tactical conundrum in his talisman: the inspirational Luka Modric.
By switching from the 4-4-2 formation that had failed to contain the Azzurri in the first half, to a 4-2-3-1 system that saw Modric re-deployed in a more advanced role, Bilic was able to wrestle control of the game back into Croatian hands. Modric led the fightback admirably, displaying the kind of incisive passing and vision that have made him such a success at White Hart Lane over the last four years, and though Croatia departed Poznan with just one point, it was a point that kept alive their hopes of qualification, and one that, but for referee Howard Webb's refusal to grant Bilic's men a penalty for a foul on Nikica Jelavic, could easily have been three.
In Gdansk last night Modric displayed more of the same composed swagger, but sadly even he could not tame the marauding and bullish might of the Spanish, who played the kind of ludicrously attractive football that may well see them meet their destiny as the first international team to win three major tournaments consecutively. But for Modric the tournament is now over, paving the way for a renewal of last summer's protracted tussle between the midfielder and his club over his future. Last time out Spurs hung on to their man in the face of well documented interest from city rivals Chelsea, but now, unable to offer Champions League football and with no manager at the helm following the departure of Harry Redknapp, time may well be up on Modric's spell in north London. Here we take a look at five of Modric's most likely suitors, and assess their case for capturing Bilic's midfield maestro.
The "special one" may see Luka Modric as the ideal player to complement Alonso at the base of a new look midfield
Though not short on midfield options with the likes of Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira, Kaka, Mesut Ozil and Estaban Granero all already at Jose Mourinho's disposal, the "special one" may see Luka Modric as the ideal player to complement Alonso at the base of a new look midfield. Reports in the press suggest Modric is keen on a move to Spain, and with Barcelona certainly not likely to need another midfield option, the Santiago Bernabeu could well be where Modric is playing the bulk of his football next season.
Likelihood – 9/10
It's no secret that Manchester United have lacked a dominant central midfielder for several seasons, and now that their stranglehold on the Premiership seems to have slipped, and to Manchester City no less, Alex Ferguson appears to be certain to finally address the issue this summer. Modric, on paper, looks to be the perfect fit for the Red Devils, with perhaps the only stumbling blocks being Manchester United's willingness to meet Tottenham Hotspur's asking price and Modric's own desire, or lack of, to relocate to Manchester.
Likelihood – 8/10
Michael Essien's dramatic decline since suffering a serious knee injury, and Frank Lampard's own ageing legs, may necessitate a move for a central midfielder.
Though first in line for Modric's signature a year ago, Chelsea's interest appears to have waned slightly as they look to invest in other areas of their squad, with the bulk of their financial outlay this summer likely to be spent on Porto's Hulk, Atletico Madrid's Falcao and Werder Bremen's Marko Marin. That said, Michael Essien's dramatic decline since suffering a serious knee injury, and Frank Lampard's own ageing legs, may necessitate a move for a central midfielder, if Roberto Di Matteo can convince Roman Abramovich to dip into his pockets again.
Likelihood – 7/10
Given their all encompassing transfer policy over the last couple of seasons it's inevitable that Manchester City are being linked with Modric, but realistically Roberto Mancini already has a wealth of options in the centre of the park and, perhaps more importantly, Modric is not a natural fit for Mancini's own version of the 4-2-3-1 system. Still, things at Manchester City often don't make complete sense, and with money to burn Mancini may elect to move for Modric simply to give him another option if, of course, Modric is happy to make the move north.
Likelihood – 6/10
The only club in the world able to compete with the financial clout of Manchester City, and after a season which saw the Parisians finish second to surprise title winners Montpellier, Carlo Ancelotti looks set to spend big this summer. A midfielder in the ilk of Modric will certainly be on his shopping list, and now that they are able to offer Champions League football, and with a host of other big names likely to join the ranks over the coming months, Paris Saint-Germain could be a good outside bet to capture Croatia's star man.
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