Luka Modric: Why He Wouldn't Be a Good Fit at Manchester United

Max TowleAnalyst IMarch 18, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 13:  Luka Modric of Real Madrid in action during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 13, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

In the wake of his stunning Champions League goal against Manchester United, it was almost inevitable that Real Madrid's Luka Modric would be linked with a move to Old Trafford (via Daily Mail).

What better scouting report could Sir Alex Ferguson hope to get than that?

The moment the Croatian midfielder shimmied past a stricken Michael Carrick and lashed a curling effort past David de Gea it was as if we were watching the Modric of old—the Modric whose performances for Tottenham Hotspur made him one of the most desirable commodities in football before his move to the Bernabeu last summer.

But this goal, and granted, his stunning strike against Mallorca this past weekend, shouldn't disguise the fact that he has not looked the same player that so impressed in the 2010/11 season.

He has been a letdown for Real—a £33 million flop who has only showed his genius in sporadic flashes.

This is the move which he fought so determinedly for in the summer of 2011, a match that seemed to be made in heaven.

But with Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira ahead of him in the pecking order, and having been played out of position on several occasions, Modric has been left stranded in Spain.


Why Would the Red Devils Want Jose Mourinho's Leftovers?

Despite two underwhelming seasons, the optimist in me would quote the age-old adage that "form is temporary..." in regards to Modric.

He is the same man as he was in 2011—he hasn't been robbed of his talent through injury (Owen Hargreaves), or through moving to Chelsea (Fernando Torres).

He is only 27 years old, swiftly approaching the peak age for a modern-day footballer.

Modric may not suit the tactics of Mourinho, but that shouldn't necessarily mean he wouldn't suit those of Sir Alex.

If there is one player who best represents a like-for-like replacement for Paul Scholes, it's him.

His ability to receive the ball from deep and initiate attacking sequences through distribution to the flanks would surely come in handy at Old Trafford.

In theory, he would link up well with the equally nimble Shinji Kagawa ahead of him. The two play fast, free-flowing, two-touch football.

His possession-based game matches the ideology of Fergie—with the Croatian on board, opposition teams would be lucky to get two sniffs of the ball during games.

For a good price, there are several reasons why a move for Luka Modric would make perfect sense for United.

But I'm here to argue the opposite.


I Think We'll Pass

It is no secret that United's biggest ("biggest" used in a liberal sense) weakness at present is in central midfield.

Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley have both had landmark seasons, but the partnership is not one that strikes fear into anyone's hearts.

The Red Devils need grit and steel in the middle but also a player capable of taking the ball upfield by himself—think Yaya Toure or Arturo Vidal.

The Red Devils need box-to-box muscle—a real Luca Brasi or Roy Keane whose mere presence is enough to disrupt any team's attacking play.

Some may think that squads no longer need a 6'2", ball-winning boss. But in the Premier League and the within the rigours of British football, the asset cannot be underestimated.

Luka Modric, for all of his talents, does not fit into this mold.

Technically, he is brilliant, but United need more of an iron fist than a silk glove.

There are better options out there—Kevin Strootman, Lars Bender and Vidal (if the price is right) immediately come to mind.

If Modric were to come, I believe it would see the responsibilities of Michael Carrick lessen more than anyone else—a fate the Englishman doesn't deserve.

Real aren't likely to let Modric go for cheap, either, certainly for no less than £25 million.

Not to stoke the fires of the rumour mill, but the Glazers need to start saving if they're going to buy back Cristiano Ronaldo in 2014.

Of course, it's still possible that Modric regains his confidence at the Bernabeu and becomes one of Mourinho's trusted subordinates.

If this were to happen, Sir Alex won't have to worry about the "to sign him, or not to sign him" conundrum.

But if Real look for the quick sell, that shouldn't mean the Scotsman jumps when Real tell him to.

His goal may have booted the Red Devils out of this season's Champions League, but that doesn't mean he's the man to win it for them next time.


Do you think Luka Modric is the player United should be chasing come the summer?


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