Luka Modric, the coveted Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, could be one step closer to joining Manchester United. The Daily Telegraph is reporting that presumptive front-runner Real Madrid's interest has waned in recent days.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is resisting selling Modric to another Premier League team but could be out of options. With Real Madrid stepping away, the top expected suitors are fellow Premier teams.
Chelsea is expected to pursue Modric, having made three offers last summer.
No formal bids have been made this season, but they went as high as £40 million close to the end of the 2011 transfer window.
However, the Blues' needs at midfield aren't material, and they shouldn't be expected to offer a significant amount of cash to make the deal.
Levy is currently holding to a £50 million valuation for Modric, but an expected transfer request from Modric could force Tottenham to come down from that figure.
Modric seems to be favoring a move to United as Spanish journalist Guillem Balague has reported the Red Devils are guaranteeing him a first-team spot.
Perhaps the biggest stumbling block left for the Reds' acquisition of Modric is their staggering financial issues. United has debt of over £420 million, and May reports revealed a loss over the prior nine months of £71 million to meet financial obligations imposed by the ownership group.
Their revenue last season dropped by almost £5 million, from £75.2 to £70.8 million. This is tied to early exits from FA Cup and UEFA Champions League play where they didn't advance from the group stage.
However, Manchester United chief executive David Gill insists that finances won't stall the pursuit of players.
We don't think they've (Manchester City) got all the best players and nor can Chelsea, nor can Manchester United. That's why, with (Sir) Alex Ferguson as the manager and the scouting system and the resources, we'll make sure we improve the squad as necessary and continue to be up there.
City have a great team and squad, they won the League and we congratulate them. We've got to concentrate on our own club and look at where we fell short and what we have to do to improve that.
You can only control what you can control and we'll do that. Our turnover and cash profits demonstrate that we can invest in players as necessary. We did it last year when we bought three players.
We still pay very good salaries. Other clubs may pay slightly more but I think that a player coming to Manchester United has the benefit of playing in front of 76,000 every week, our history and heritage.
Also, the commercial spin-offs if they want to choose to go down that route are probably better at Manchester United than other clubs, arguably anyway. We shouldn't be shy or embarrassed or worried about not being able to attract top players because I firmly believe we can. With Alex and what we offer as a club many people want to come and play for us.
David Gill via Daily Mail UK article
The current asking price will most likely keep United out of the race. It should keep other teams out, too. If the reports that Real Madrid is backing out are accurate United moves into a favorable bargaining position.
Paris Saint-Germain is the other team expected to be in the running.
Should Tottenham opt against selling Modric United has other options. Udinese midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah has been linked to the Reds, as has 24-year-old Swedish star Rasmus Elm who plays in the Netherlands for AZ Alkmaar.