Could Luka Modric's presence have made for a different result for Tottenham in Monday night's 3-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United at Old Trafford? Probably not.
Old Trafford is still Old Trafford, with or without him.
But the Croatian Sensation could have at least been the difference between a respectable attempt at opening-match success and the embarrassing second-half self-destruction that we all witnessed in horror.
So where was the little want-away?
Officially, Modric was ruled out of the Manchester United clash with a persistent groin injury. He was not even listed as a potential sub.
The injury also kept the midfielder from joining his teammates in their Europa League match against Hearts last week, which Spurs won by an impressive margin of five goals.
Fair enough. The poor guy is injured, so cut him some slack, right?
Still, many of us can't help but wonder if Modric has a little something up his sleeve.
It's not exactly a secret that Luka Modric has been heavily linked with Chelsea this summer, a move that he has made abundantly clear that he would like to make.
It's understandable, of course, given that Chelsea are reportedly offering up to as much as triple his wages if he makes the switch.
Modric's behavior throughout the transfer season has been, well, dramatic (to say the least), so it should come as little surprise that he is conveniently missing minutes with the club he's been trying to force into a transfer situation for months.
It seems (without making any accusations) at least plausible that he's making a bigger deal out of the injury than it really is. And Harry Redknapp agrees, suggesting before Monday's match that "there's a possibility he could have played through it."
So why leave your most valuable player off the roster entirely if he can still potentially make an appearance when needed?
According to Redknapp, the real reason that Modric did not play was this: "At the moment, his head's not in the right place."
Personally, I believe that this confirms a fear that so many of us have had this summer regarding the potential dangers of fielding a player so actively disgruntled toward the club.
His loyalty to Spurs is clearly diminished, and if it's taking such a toll off the field than why should any of us believe that it won't have a negative impact on the field, if they can ever convince him to stop being "injured" for a little while?
But I also understand the club's current stance, as stated by Redknapp: "There is no point selling him so late in the transfer window because there is no time to replace him."
So, what is there to do?
According to Sky Sports, a meeting could be in the works between Modric and Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to attempt to smooth things over. Famously, the last meeting between the two did not exactly go well.
This time, however, they could be discussing a new contract to give Modric a salary more suitable to last season's form.
Nonetheless, money is far from the only motivating factor driving Modric's transfer desires, as Tottenham lacks two other key ingredients: an extensive record of success in recent years, and Champions League football in 2011-12.
If all goes according to plan at White Hart Lane, Luka Modric will ideally be playing for Spurs after fully recovering from his groin injury (I'd say sometime around the first of September).
Things should quiet down substantially once the transfer window closes, assuming they can hold out for another week.
And, as Luka Modric attempts to prove to his suitors that he's worth Chelsea's effort in the next transfer window, he'll probably be back to top form as well.
Still, if Spurs don't find some way to make the want-away star content in his role in North London, don't be too surprised if he's ruled out with yet another "injury" come January.
As for right now? It's pretty simple.
"He's got to start playing," says Redknapp. "That's what we need."
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