Tottenham Hotspur are bloody selfish. They spend all summer flirting with the idea of selling Luka Modric, while I wait expectantly, day-in, day-out, for the deal to be confirmed. Nothing happens all summer and I think to myself ‘you know what; I could go for a quick holiday without missing anything’.
I take it upon myself to jet off to Barcelona for a few days; spend the 27th looking around the Camp Nou and thinking nothing of it, oblivious to what is happening in the world of football. One day away from my laptop and what happens? Modric secures his big money move to Real Madrid. Here I was half expecting a deadline day saga upon my return to England, but no; the deal is confirmed and one of Spurs’ main creative forces’ is Bernabeu bound.
Spurs fans will be honest; Modric was always off this summer. From the moment Didier Drogba’s penalty hit the back of Manuel Neuer’s net, it was inevitable that the Croatia international would be off. The fact that it took this long for the deal to be completed more or less ground the gears of fans, who were hoping to be done with the 26-year-old before the beginning of the season.
Nevertheless, he’s now gone and made his debut during Real Madrid’s Supercopa success over Barcelona on Wednesday in a 10 minute cameo. His replacement was announced on the evening before El Clasico and came in the form of Mousa Dembele. Reports suggest that Spurs paid anything between £15m and £19m for the former Fulham ace as they look to secure the successor for Modric.
From the moment Didier Drogba’s penalty hit the back of Manuel Neuer’s net, it was inevitable that the Croatia international would be off
With Rafael van der Vaart off to Hamburg, it was imperative that Spurs secured a creative midfielder to plug the gap in the middle of the park. Gylfi Sigurdsson was acquired earlier in the summer, presumably as the replacement for the Dutchman who has been heavily linked with a return to the Bundesliga outfit for some time.
With the goalscoring midfielder in place, the deep lying playmaker was required. Performances in the first two games showed the need for a spark from the midfield, one that Modric would have provided in opening defeat and draw with Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion, respectively.
However, it is keen to note that Dembele and Modric are two very different players. The latter is more comfortable to sit back and spread the ball about the pitch, in comparison to the former who is more direct in breaking forward, often breaking through the midfield to support the front-men rather than sitting deeper.
The man to replace Modric would, ideally, be FC Porto’s Joao Moutinho, not that I’m gutted about Spurs signing Dembele; completely the opposite in fact. Signing the Belgium international means Andre Villas-Boas has another attacking option at his disposal and, perhaps importantly, cover for both Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon.
At 25 years of age, Dembele still has time to develop and, perhaps vitally, has two years Premier League experience behind him. His goalscoring record may not be overly impressive, seven goals in 75 games during his time at Craven Cottage, but he’s showcased this season that he is a creative force to be reckoned with; his performance during the 3-2 defeat to Manchester United last weekend a testament to that.
His arrival has certainly excited the Spurs faithful; especially as he was Real Madrid’s second choice should they have missed out on Modric. As mentioned, he won’t be a direct replacement, but he gives Villas-Boas another attacking option, be it behind the front-men or out wide supporting the strikers.
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