Two years after leaving Tottenham Hotspur for Real Madrid, Luka Modric is once again being chased by Jose Mourinho this summer in a deal that would see the Croatian playmaker reunite with his former boss at Chelsea.
According to Goal.com's Greg Stobart, the Croatian is Mourinho's primary midfield target, but Los Merengues have placed a "not for sale" sticker on their man, with a Bernabeu source revealing:
"Modric would be Mourinho’s first choice to improve his midfield in the summer and Roman Abramovich is also a massive fan - but it’s been made very clear that this one is going nowhere."
As Real will be all too aware, though, football is a business in which money talks, and in that sense, Chelsea happen to be a party boasting one of the loudest voices in the realm.
Mourinho's return to Stamford Bridge has put the Blues back in the Premier League title race, and the Portuguese led his men to a Champions League semi-final, but this summer's transfer window is likely to see the club go through another period of serious recruitment.
Frank Lampard's age and the diminishing involvement of John Obi Mikel makes central midfield a deserved area in need of attention, with Nemanja Matic, Ramires and Marco van Ginkel potentially welcoming a new partner into their fold over the coming months.
Modric's acclimation to life in the Spanish capital took its time, but he now sits as one of the jewels in Ancelotti's line-up, his talents as prized as those of Xabi Alonso to some.
ESPN's Michael Cox and Goal.com's Stobart recently pointed out how essential Modric was in seeing Real past Bayern Munich in their Champions League semi-final, depicting his ability to perform in the biggest of occasions:
Having featured in 31 La Liga fixtures this season, no consistent first-team midfielder has mustered a better passing accuracy than that of Modric's 90 percent success rate, per Squawka, better than anything Chelsea's midfield stars have managed, too.
Modric has rediscovered a more clinical touch in striking up chances for those around him, too, creating 46 scoring opportunities for Real this league term, showing his knack not just from precision, but potency, too.
It's a rounded presence that the Blues could do with at present, not quite a Lampard replacement given that Modric has never had the same scoring instincts as the England veteran, but he possesses a skill set that would nonetheless complement those around him well.
Unlike other rumoured stars, Modric also has the benefit of having already thrived in the Premier League, making 127 league appearances for Spurs during his four-year stay at the club, according to Transfermarkt.
For Chelsea, it's a case of ensuring quality is what's brought in not just this summer, but at every avenue in which they choose to spend big. They have the funds to demand such expectations, after all, and if that means making fewer but more beneficial transfers in order to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations, so be it.
All the talk at Chelsea right now is revolving around their need for a reliable striking presence, but Modric has the potential to get the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian and others into even better form and should be looked upon as fondly as any other transfer prospect.
If the funds are available and Real's arm can be twisted, there isn't a central midfielder in Europe who fits the bill more aptly, and though sure to be an expensive acquisition for the club, Modric can still prove himself as great value for money.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!