Tottenham's Luka Modric headache just won't go away.
Even after a highly publicized meeting last week between the Croatian and club chairman Daniel Levy, in which Modric was seemingly told once and for all that a transfer away from North London is out of the question, rumors continue to surface around the turmoil the situation has created within Tottenham's ranks.
The meeting could still very well prove to be the final verdict in Modric's push to move to a top-four Premier League club, but that's something that remains to be seen. Whether a transfer is likely or not, the question that many fans and analysts continue to ask is not will he go, but rather should he go.
The answer that I submit to you today is a resounding "yes." The following is the top five reasons why.
The Spurs signed Modric in 2008 for what was then a club record fee of £16.5 million. They now estimate his value to be closer to £25 million to £30 million.
The most recent bid from Chelsea is estimated to be £27 million, with rumors continuing to circulate that chairman Daniel Levy would not be willing to let him go for less than the £30 million that constitutes the upper range of their value of the player.
Disregarding the quality of the player and his impact on the club since joining three years ago, it is never bad policy to pocket £13 million for a transfer. And that's money that the Spurs could easily put to better use than keeping a cocky midfielder who fancies himself as being destined for glory.
With Tottenham still in the hunt for a reliable scoring option in the coming campaign, the Spurs could find that selling Modric will both cure their long-running transfer headache and improve their overall finishing ability all at the same time.
While the Spurs don't necessarily need to add that much to their transfer budget to afford quality forwards for their roster, it's still a lot of money that could be applied to both filling the gap Modric would leave at midfield and improving their options for attack-oriented acquisitions.
With Daniel Levy and Harry Redknapp's prowess at locating and developing young talent, the trade off could easily be an insignificant loss of skill in the midfield for a vast improvement in the club's striking options.
Tottenham Hotspur are not a club traditionally tolerant of a lack of professionalism. Dramatic media pleas and high-profile hissy fits should, as far as they are concerned, be left to their North London rivals at Emirates Stadium.
It's an understanding and a development model that is respected by almost everybody at White Hart Lane, and those who fall out of line, face retribution (Giovanni dos Santos, for example).
Luka Modric, however, seems to think that the club's expectation of maturity and mutual respect applies to everybody but him. He seems to think that his ability on the pitch sets him aside from such expectations, which is sadly a common theme among young players coming into stardom.
Still, Modric is hardly likely to be identified as even the most talented player in the Spurs' midfield, yet alone on the roster. More talented players (such as Gareth Bale) are having significantly less difficulty adhering to the expectations and remaining humble and respectful throughout the transfer season.
Instead of following suit, Modric has remained dissenting through the majority of the summer weeks. He seemed to know from the beginning that he wished to move to a higher-place squad and has taken every step necessary to attempt to force a move.
When media requests and speaking to clubs behind Redknapp and Levy's back proved to be not enough to secure a transfer, Modric took it a step further.
Most recently, the Croatian has resorted to accusing Levy of threatening his career and issued a threat of his own to submit an official transfer request to stir up drama when talk of a move was seemingly squashed by club officials.
Make no mistake about it. Luka Modric is throwing a hissy fit.
This week, he also accused Daniel Levy of failing to recognize a "gentleman's agreement" they had made to allow him to move, conveniently existing without a solid paper-trail to prove that it had been made and supposedly stating that the club would disregard the five remaining years of the contract Modric personally signed if the midfielder so much as said, "Hey guys, I don't feel like doing those things I legally agreed to doing. That's cool, right?"
As difficult as it is to reward this sort of behavior, the Spurs might end up with little choice.
More and more, Luka Modric is turning into the sort of player that Tottenham would typically have zero tolerance toward and little interest in dealing with.
The story behind Luka Modric's attempts to escape White Hart Lane changes by the day.
At times, he's sulking and playing the "quiet victim" card, at others "quiet" is hardly the proper adjective to accurately describe his dissent.
The only consistent factor in the saga has been the fact that Modric no longer wishes to play for Tottenham, a point that has been made abundantly clear over and over again.
The risk associated with fielding an unhappy player is debatable, but it's one that Harry Redknapp has acknowledged as difficult to deal with. There is always the risk that the player in question will perform poorly for the club, either out of conscious sabotage or unconscious effects of damaged loyalties.
In Modric's case, the risks could be multiplied based solely on the length of his contract.
In September, Modric will be 26 years old, and he still has five years left on his contract with the Spurs. While it's tempting to say that even if he stays at Tottenham, he will still be forced to play top-level football to continue receiving offers from bigger clubs, this might not necessarily be the case.
He will be nearly 31 when the current contract expires and could very well be past his current prime.
The Spurs, as Modric well knows, own him for a rather large majority of his remaining career. And that's not good news for those who hope this ordeal will not result in a deteriorated performance on the pitch.
If Tottenham officials continue to suggest that Modric will be forced to honor the entirety of his contract (which is, granted, well within their rights), then the argument of Modric playing well to keep Chelsea and Manchester United's attention goes out the window.
The worst-case scenario is that Modric does not play at a level worthy of a starting spot, Tottenham still enter the next campaign with a weakness in their midfield that is similar to what they worry will happen if they sell him and they'll ultimately end up letting him go for significantly less than his current value.
At any given match at White Hart Lane, the viewer is only exposed to a tiny fraction of the Hotspur fan-base (hence the need for a larger stadium). Spurs fans are many, and their numbers are growing far and wide by the day.
To add a little perspective, I am personally a devoted Spurs fan in Seattle, Wash., USA. That's a good 6,000 miles from London, crossing one ocean and one continent along the way. And I'm not the only one, either.
Premier League matches air live in my time zone typically between 4:30 and 11:00 in the morning. On most weekend mornings, I can be found at my local football pub bright and early, surrounded by dozens of other fans in Tottenham scarves and shirts they ordered directly from London themselves.
So yes, there are a lot of us, all over the world. And we are loud.
Another important note: we love our club, and are not tolerant of players who disrespect it. Attempting to force a transfer under the presumption that a player is bigger than the club is one of the highest forms of disrespect available.
If Modric eventually decides to accept his fate at White Hart Lane and cease his behavior in the media, most of us will probably find it in our hearts to forgive him...eventually.
But as it stands, there's a growing number of Spurs fans that are just fed up with his actions this summer and quite honestly don't want to see him in a white uniform again.
When Modric leaves, there's one opinion that will be shared by many devoted fans who contribute to one of the best atmospheres in the Premier League: good riddance.
After all of the media tirades, the back-and-forth threats, and the fan disapproval, it's easy to forget one important fact: Luka Modric might actually have a legitimate claim.
Let's not forget that Modric still has five years on his contract, a length that constitutes the majority of his remaining career. And his compensation from the club is determined by that contract, which was drafted before he really caught the eye Manchester United and Chelsea.
When you find out that you could be making significantly more than you are with your current club and that there's nothing you can do to change it, that's a tough pill to swallow.
Harry Redknapp said it best: "We can't kid ourselves, if someone is going to double or treble your wages, it's difficult."
And that's exactly what these clubs are offering Modric, along with the exclusive opportunity to play for one of the top clubs in the world.
I don't think anybody could have predicted the kind of attention that Modric would be getting or the offers he would receive. He certainly didn't when he accepted his contract with the Spurs.
Maybe the club itself needs to express its maturity and allow its star to chase his dreams and receive the sort of compensation he earned with his rate of play at White Hart Lane.
Maybe, above all else, Tottenham should let him go, not out of animosity or disgust with his handling of the situation, but out of genuine respect.