Manchester United

Luka Modric: Manchester United Must Target out-of-Favor Real Madrid Midfielder

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 17: Luka Modric of Real Madrid reacts after missing a shot at goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Athletic Club de Bilbao at estadio Santiago Bernabeu on November 17, 2012 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIJanuary 7, 2013

When Luka Modric moved to Real Madrid over the summer, Manchester United set its sights elsewhere, but the midfield maestro’s poor start in La Liga may make him available once again. 

Matt Law of The Daily Mirror notes that Modric’s £33 million signing was voted as the worst move of the summer by any La Liga team, and he writes, "With sources in his homeland of Croatia claiming Modric would consider a swift return to the Premier League, Chelsea, United and City will monitor the 27-year-old’s situation.”

Sir Alex Ferguson would be wise to keep an extremely close eye on the midfielder, and if he becomes available either in January or in the summer, he should pounce on his chance to bring him back to the Premier League. 

Modric would be an ideal fit in the United lineup. Ferguson was interested last season, and the Red Devils were thought to be one of the midfielder’s major suitors, as Darren Witcoop of The Daily Mail notes. 

While Michael Carrick’s form has improved from last season, he is still 31 years old, and he cannot be counted on to continue orchestrating the United attack in the future. Modric would be a significant upgrade from the veteran.  

Modric has the ability to excel as a traditional central midfielder in a 4-4-2 formation or as a defensive midfielder in other lineups. His passing and vision are elite, and he was fantastic last season when he ranked third in the Premiership in key passes (a pass that leads directly to a shot) per game.  

But he has failed to establish himself in a crowded midfield at Madrid, and he has started just eight La Liga matches while appearing six times as a substitute. He has recorded 1.3 key passes per match in these contests, which pales in comparison to his average of 2.7 for Spurs a year ago.

A large reason for Modric’s inability to set up his Madrid teammates is that he spent significantly less time on the ball as a Galactico. He has averaged just 35.9 passes per game this season, compared to 70.4 passes in each match in his previous campaign. 

If he were to fill in for Carrick in the United lineup, he would play a role similar to the one he occupied in North London. Carrick has averaged 82.5 passes per game and just 1.3 key passes; this suggests that Modric would receive a similar amount of touches at United, but he would do significantly more with his time in possession.

Modric excels when he is the focal point of his team’s tactics. At Madrid, he is becoming more and more of an afterthought and has gotten lost among the team’s many talented midfielders. 

He is not in an ideal situation, and he would be wise to open himself up to a change of scenery.

For Madrid, recouping their £33 million investment would be ideal, but it will likely have to resign itself to accepting less than this figure, as Modric has not been nearly as productive as he was when it signed him. 

This makes the next two transfer windows an ideal time to chase after the talented Croatian. United may be able to sign him at a bargain price.

If he becomes available for a reasonable fee, United must not hesitate to sign him as he would be an extremely valuable addition to the squad. 

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