Tottenham Hotspur News: Moving on After Luka Modric Transfer Drama
After a high-profile meeting at White Hart Lane that changed everything for Luka Modric's transfer hopes (and yet changed nothing at all), summer training has begun for the Tottenham Hotspur, with a variety of mixed emotions for players and managers alike.
On Wednesday evening, Modric flew in from Croatia, unsure what his scheduled meeting with club chairman Daniel Levy might hold, and unsure whether or not he would be joining his teammates on the training ground the following morning.
He hoped to persuade the chairman to consider a possible transfer to Chelsea, or another Champions League club, but that hope was ultimately squashed under the strong reiteration that no amount of money would persuade the Spurs to sell the key element of their midfield.
When training officially began, the news was hardly a few hours old, and certainly fresh in everybody's mind. The question: What exactly would the emotional toll of this verdict be on the team as a whole?
On the first day of training, Modric's agent, Nikky Vuksan, conceded to BBC Sport that his client would not be submitting a transfer request, stating, "He will honor his contract." But moving forward is not quite that easy.
"Maybe [he was] a little bit disappointed, but I can understand him," friend and teammate Rafael van der Vaart revealed to Sky Sports after speaking to Modric for the first time in several weeks. "It's not easy when a club wants to buy you. But I think he's happy here and he also told me that he likes to play with us again and train with us."
Do you worry that lingering animosity will hinder Modric's in-game performance?
Club manager Harry Redknapp admitted that "it's a difficult situation for him and I understand where he's coming from. We can't kid ourselves, if someone is going to double or treble your wages, it's difficult. But he signed a contract here, we love him here and we want him here."
The consensus from everybody certainly appears to be that Luka Modric is accepting and happy of his return to White Hart Lane. From everybody except Luka Modric himself, that is, who has remained absent from the media since the meeting on Wednesday night.
When asked whether Modric had been hopeful and confident of a move to Chelsea, Van der Vaart simply replied, "I don't know. That's not what he told me." But given the recent coverage of Modric's reported interest, it seems unlikely that his heart was not set on a transfer.
"He's walked in today and is happy, but the kid's a bit confused at the moment," Redknapp told reporters. "I'd be telling you lies if I said he's happy and he doesn't want to go and play for whoever wants him. I think there are three or four of the top five that want him. But we want to keep him here."
Revealing the delicacy of the situation following the decision, Levy admitted, "I have never been in a situation before where a player has had to fight a club and it's not something we want to do."
The next item on Levy and Redknapp's agendas: matching Modric's Champions League ambitions in the coming campaign.
"We need [Modric] and, as [Daniel Levy] said to me this morning, we need to add to him," said Redknapp. "We are looking to improve and we need to. It's no good people talking about Champions League football if we don't improve the team, we know that."
There was still little to be revealed about the club's potential transfer targets in the near future, but the club's goal remains clear: recapture their top-four glory of the 2009-2010 campaign. And allowing the assumption that Modric enters the new season with a clear head and remaining desire to succeed once again with the Spurs, achieving such a goal may be more likely than ever.
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