LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: Luka Modric of Tottenham in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at White Hart Lane on August 28, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
The Sun (reliability is shockingly low, we all know) has reported that Mancheser United have had a bid accepted of £25 million for Tottenham’s midfield maestro, Luka Modric. Last summer, Daniel Levy, Tottenham’s chairman, made it clear that Modric would not be sold, and stood fairly firm. Modric claimed that a gentleman’s agreement had been broken, which would have allowed him to enter contract negotiations with a top club last summer.
Shinji Kagawa, United’s first summer signing and Bundesliga Payer of the Year, is not the answer to the midfield woes United have been suffering for a while now. He is best utilised when playing behind the lone striker, which brings about more questions because Wayne Rooney currently occupies this position, and can also play as a left winger, where he plays for Japan. He is an intelligent player who can pick a pass and his movement troubles the opposition. He lacks the matureness to play in central midfield, though only Sir Alex Ferguson knows where he will be employed. There will be room for experimentation in the summer.
There have been some parts of the season, where United have looked far from champions. Lacklustre performances because the midfield combination had to be tweaked far too often. The return of Paul Scholes evoked a solid midfield partnership alongside Michael Carrick. At 37-years-old, The Ginger Prince was one of United’s best players in the second half of the season. The quality is still there, and that was evident against most teams Scholes played against, where he successfully dictated play. However, Fergie knows that he needs to look for a long-term option sooner rather than later, with Scholes’ last ever season being next season. Look no further than Modric.
The sharpness of Modric’s turns and his low centre of gravity make it easy for him to bypass opponents, giving him the advantage. Do not be fooled by his small frame, he has plenty of strength to stop the opposition from knocking him off the ball easily. He is a player that demands the ball frequently and rarely gives the ball away. He has made the deep-lying playmaker role his own in England, forget about Tottenham. His vision is second to none, the weight of the pass is cleverly adjusted, he is a genuine dictator, and controls the tempo the majority of the time. In addition to this, he does not neglect midfield duties and positions himself smartly, unlike a number of prominent deep-lying playmakers in the current game.
Playing in central midfield requires more than just being able to attack and defend. It requires a player to demand the ball and make sure that the other players in the team play better. Modric seems like the perfect fit because he is everything United require, and there will not be any worries regarding his capabilities in the Premier League because he has played there for a few seasons now, and so is familiar with his surroundings.
Although Modric’s stats (goals and assists) are not that great, it is the build up play which is essential. He is normally the one who is playing the ball to the wingers, you will find him starting attack after attack. Statistics for 2011/2012: 4 goals and 4 assists seems underwhelming for a player of his calibre, but as previously explained he does not have the final say, but he starts everything off. The Croat averages 2.7 key passes per game, having made 96 key passes. Accurate long balls per game stands at 7.6 (275/329). Accurate through balls per game: 0.5 (17/36). Thanks to WhoScored.
Despite all the speculation surrounding Modric’s future, he has maintained a great level of professionalism throughout. He has, in fact, put in some great performances and respect should be awarded, considering all the negativity that he must have felt when he was told he was not going to get his big club move. It is very to lazy assume that he is in it for the money. If that were the case, he would probably stay at Tottenham and receive a big money cheque.
Modric is undecided on his future. Well, he most certainly is: he sees himself at a bigger club. If he has a fantastic Euro 2012 campaign, then Tottenham will, without doubt, benefit off this, unless we see some stubbornness from Levy’s direction. The destination for the Croat is not visible. United are in need of him the most, for apparent reasons. Chelsea are also interested, but with Marin, Hazard, and potentially Hulk joining Chelsea, it seems unlikely that Roman Abramovich will want to spend a substantial amount of money. Manchester City seem to be interested, too, which has gone off the radar. If United do sign Modric, then that will put an end to the "lack of ambition" claims, and more importantly we will see better performances on the pitch.
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