White Hart War of Attrition, Round 2: Madrid's Opening Salvos at Gareth Bale
It must be summer in Tottenham, because the sounds of sweet nothings are being directed toward White Hart Lane.
Seeing as most of the Real Madrid regulars are out gearing up for the Confederations Cup, there must be someone left in Europe able to find Marca and leave out the red carpet for Gareth Bale.
Step forward Luka Modric
“Wait!” I hear you cry. “He was the center of last year’s transfer flirtation!”
Of course he was and, because Xabi Alonso, Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and the like are not available, someone has to take the mantle of sweet-talker extraordinaire.
This time, Modric gets to play the part of the lovesick schoolboy, running about and trying to woo the diamond of his life’s eye.
For those of you who stuck around through last summer’s transfer extravaganza, we offer a quick quiz.
Which of these is referring to Modric’s transfer drama? (Answer below)
A. Since Madrid is the 'galácticos' team, (he) would fit perfectly, he would be really good for us. He would give the team another dimension.
B. (He) is a team player, who plays for the common good, and looks for and finds his teammates. He also has a great touch, a bit of magic, that they will love at the Bernabeu.
C. But if (he) feels now is the time to move, then he has to have a private discussion with his club and express that he wants to leave.”
Regardless of affiliation, Modric probably knows that, given the state his own transfer went through, his comments are likely to be welcomed like prickly heat by the Tottenham faithful.
What it is, however, is likely the groundwork toward the inevitable onslaught of buttering-up that will happen after the managerial limbo in Madrid is finished.
And after the bulk of the regulars return from the Confederations Cup, expect the charm offensive to hit a higher full-scale pitch than even last year produced.
To demonstrate the depths of what people will say to try to draw people in, let’s go back to the quiz for a minute.
The answer was quote B, a line from Jose Mourinho from the Daily Mail.
Modric was the originator of quote A, referring to Bale in a recent interview with Marca.
Quote C might have been tricky because it seems like something that would have applied to Modric early in the summer window.
It is actually from Zinedine Zidane in the Mirror, the latest unsubtle monologue in his own attempts pining for Bale’s affections inside the Bernabeu.
That line also underscores what’s likely to be an even dirtier subversion campaign from Spain than the one that happened last year.
Some of the wonderfully infuriating items, like Modric’s player profile arriving early and the almost smug nature of Madrid players acting as if he was already a teammate, will seem dull compared to the total war effort soon to be applied.
As much as Bale is said to be happy at Spurs, even the most battle-hardened of veterans is not immune from listening to the commentators or reading the papers.
Friends, family, teammates, agents, reporters and anyone else with a vested interest in the story will also be hard to avoid for two months.
Those veterans from last year’s media warfare should probably make sure they have marked off this checklist as the summer continues:
- Dust off old war gear from last summer.
- Prepare quiet zone for venting and fits due to irrational transfer tattle rages.
- Have multiple modes of relaxation at the ready.
- Have reserves of same items ready for extended periods of speculation.
- Find a rock to live under for a couple of months.
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