Tottenham Hotspur's Croatian midfield sensation, Luka Modric, has been a very hot item on the transfer market this summer, complete with all the drama required to make a juicy headline story on a near-weekly basis in all the major news outlets.
In the 2010-11 campaign, Modric caught the eye of England's top clubs, as Manchester United and Chelsea were quick to express interest in the midfielder as soon as the transfer window opened. While United seems to have dropped out of the race (seeking either Wesley Sneijder or an academy player to fill the gap Paul Scholes left in midfield), Chelsea still seems to be of the opinion that Modric is a necessary transfer target and a potential key element of their 2011-12 dream team.
Chelsea opened bidding for Modric in mid-June, with a reported £22 million offer to Tottenham that would soon be rejected by the North London outfit. Spurs boss Harry Redknapp was quick to write off the offer as "ridiculous," adding "there are people being sold for £20 million who are not fit to lace Luka's boots."
After Chelsea suffered the injury blow of Michael Essien in July, their need for a new quality midfielder became even greater. They responded with an improved offer to Tottenham, this time for £27 million, which was again rejected.
But the drama was hardly contained to mere offers and rejections between the two sides. With Chelsea whispering in Modric's ear of increased wages and Champions League football, the conflict between player and club grew more intense by the day.
Desperate for a move away from White Hart Lane, Modric began to play the media game, accusing Spurs chairman Daniel Levy of breaking a gentleman's agreement they had made when Modric's contract was extended. Modric stating that Levy had threatened his career by forcing him to warm the bench, and ultimately threatening to submit a formal transfer request in attempt to force a move.
But so far none of it has had a substantial effect on the club's position, as Modric has still failed to make good on his threat, and Tottenham continues to insist they intend to keep Modric in its ranks at any cost.
Now, after every attempt Chelsea has made to land the Croatian at Stamford Bridge, and after hearing every possible variation of "no" in response from White Hart Lane, Chelsea is rumored to be engineering yet another bid for Modric in the coming days, potentially well in excess of £30 million.
At this point, the question must be asked: is Luka Modric really worth all this hype?
The debate has been raging in many circles since the saga began, with both Chelsea and Spurs supporters weighing in on their feelings about Modric and his performance on the pitch.
Critics of Modric are quick to cite production statistics from last season, arguing that his four goals in all competitions and three EPL assists are hardly worthy of the price the Spurs are attributing to Modric this summer. He simply does not put enough numbers on the board.
In the other camp, Modric's supporters insist the numbers are irrelevant, and that watching him perform on the pitch is the only reliable means of truly understanding his value at his position. It's Modric's ability to control the pace of the game, hold possession and make creative plays that are his defining trademarks at White Hart Lane. These attributes, they'll say, are what could make him such a valuable addition to Chelsea's squad.
While the offer Chelsea is rumored to be making in the coming days may seem to far exceed his market value, it's important to note that any team will face a markup for a player when a club is as adamant about retaining them as Spurs are towards Modric.
Still, whether you think Modric is truly one of the most valuable presences in English football or just an over-hyped and overvalued chump, his value in the eyes of two of England's top sides this summer has become very clear. To both Chelsea and Tottenham, he's apparently worth every bit of the drama and drawn-out headache he's brought to London since the season ended.
As for the rest of us, the debate still rages, and the discussions are never-ending. Is Luka Modric, in the grand scheme of things, really and truly worthy of all of this attention?