Monday, 25 June 2012

Modric off, ........... In

During Croatia's short spell in the Euro 2012 Championships, Slaven Bilic had the nation playing slick possession football that was almost the undoing of the masters of one touch football, Spain, with Ivan Rakitic just inches away from knocking Torres and co out of the tournament. Unfortunately it wasn't to be but the game will have had a huge impact in Spain, in particular with Madrid fans. Matching, if not bettering the performances of Barcelona's Xavi and Iniesta, was a midfield maestro by the name of Luka Modric.

Since that game the rumour mill has gone crazy with stories of the Croatian's departure with Man City, United and Chelsea also said to be interested but all signs point to Madrid. Realistic Spurs fans would've accepted the likelihood of Luka moving on and with Madrid forming little competition to us as a club, maybe it is time to let him go and look to strengthen our team with the fee we receive. But who can fill the gaping hole set to be left by the potential departure?

One of the rumours that has been going around regarding the Modric to Madrid situation mentions the possibility of a part exchange deal, with youngster Nuri Sahin being mooted in particular. Sahin moved to Madrid from Borussia Dortmund last summer having lead Dortmund to the league title. Voted player of the season in the Bundesliga, Madrid were quick to snap up the Turkish international on a six year deal but injuries and strong competition have left him with few opportunities to shine for the Galactico's.

Sahin's style is very similar to Modric's, playing in a deep lying playmaking position with a fantastic passing range and a good engine. In his final season at Dortmund he also chipped in with 8 goals and 13 assists, an astonishing record for a player of his position and at the tender age of 21. The stumbling block could be Madrid's reluctance to let such a talented player go, but should he become available we'd have a potential star on our hands.

Another name that has recently been suggested is Hoffenheim's Gylfi Sigurdsson. He made his name initially at Reading under Steve Coppell and Brendan Rodgers showing enough potential to be snapped up by Hoffenheim for £7 million, despite having dropped down to the Championship with Reading. Having struggled for form however out in Germany, Sigurdsson made his way back to England last season with Swansea, again under Rodgers. In 17 games for the Welsh side he returned 7 goals and 3 assists, helping to propel the club to a secure mid-table finish. A very different player to Modric, Sigurdsson may struggle to adapt to a similar position to Modric but could be an alternative option.

Sigurdsson's team mate last year, Joe Allen is another player who could prove an attraction to Levy and the new manager. Unlike Sigurdsson, Allen tends to play deep in the midfield dictating play and is a key component of Swansea's quick, fluid football. Last year the young Welshman was a regular in the side with 4 goals and 2 assists to his name, and is much in the mould of Modric. However he is still inexperienced at this level and Luka is still a class above meaning we'd be arguably weakening our side.

Lest we not forget however two options that could come from within our squad however. In these European Championships Van Der Vaart struggled to pick up appearances for the Dutch side, but when given the opportunities, Van Marwijk tended to favour him playing in a deeper midfield role than he is accustomed to with Spurs. He possesses all the qualities to slot back a little further back, with good energy, a fantastic passing range and a goal in him to boot, but could this be too much of a risk? And could it hamper our goal threat?

Big Tommy Huddlestone suffered horrendously with injuries last season but now looks to be at a stage of recovery where he could be fit for the start of the season. If Modric was to leave, there are very few better passers of the ball than Huddlestone. He lacks pace, which is of course a flaw but his reading of the game and quick thinking more than make up for this. Let us not forget that Tommy was a key component in the season we achieved Champions League qualification and if he can perform at the same level as pre-injury, the loss of Modric could certainly be stemmed somewhat.

Maybe it's wrong of me to already be planning for life without Luka, but I would bet my last dime that Mr Levy will have already done so.

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