In case you missed it, Luka Modric is part of an ongoing auction on Madbid.com. The lowest unique bid will secure you the services of the Croatian international midfielder for football or possibly cleaning and maintenance purposes.
The current winning bid has supposedly come from Salford pensioner Sir Alex Ferguson, according to that oracle of truth ‘The Sun’ newspaper. It’s a done deal. Negotiations were quick and painless as they always are with any transfer involving Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy.
A nose bleed high £40m offer from Chelsea was knocked back by Levy last summer, but he is apparently happy to take £15m less a year later. Modric has dropped in value by a whopping 37.5% and is now available in a ‘Buy one get one free offer’ alongside Tom ‘Superfly’ Huddlestone. United are throwing in two crates of Ms Coleen Rooney’s delightful fragrance ‘Butterflies’ to sweeten the deal and these will be used to scent the Paxton End toilets on matchdays.
The ‘facts’ fail to add up. United don’t actually need a new central midfielder having signed arguably a better one in Dortmund star Shinji Kagawa (he actually scores goals). But it’s hard to doubt a story with no original quotes or in-depth information when the word EXCLUSIVE precedes it in eye-catching capitals.
If you were taken in by the above Sun story, I suggest you steer clear of Nigerian princes (at least until Yakubu has signed on August 31st). Yet people still fall helplessly into the same old trap. Click the story, buy the paper. Robert Maxwell (Google him if you are under 30 but think ‘fat Rupert Murdoch’) once told my dad, “It’s just entertainment”. I was still a fresh-faced kid in those days and not yet working in the media but my old man had several connections in the national press and an involvement with the Sugar/Venables takeover of Spurs in the early 1990s.
He was therefore dumbfounded when he read a story by a journalist he knew very well stating that Tottenham were interested in signing flat-footed striker Kerry Dixon (under 30s think a slovenly Kevin Davies without goals or elbows). “That’s just not true,” said my Dad. The journalist replied: “Oh, I know. I’m just doing a favour for his agent.” Soon afterwards, the old man was surprised and amused to find a speculative conversation he’d had with the same hack regarding potential Spurs transfer targets was later an ‘exclusive’ in the same popular daily paper.
I was (un)fortunate to later forge (an all too appropriate word) a career as a journalist and swiftly learned that often what we read and absorb is intentionally fabricated or the product of fanciful/drunken minds. Other journalists choose to dig deeper than the bowl of peanuts waiting on the top of the bar. Read carefully and you will learn who they are.
My ‘insider’ advice is don’t allow yourself to be too irritated by hearsay dressed up shoddily as journalism. If a story has no quotes from an original source, coherent, detailed information or a byline (distrust the ubiquitous ‘By Sportsmail Reporter’) then it’s probably best disregarded, fish and chip paper.
So what is Modric worth? Gifted player, Spurs midfield conductor, looks like the lead singer from Journey. But does he truly affect games, in a ‘world class’ manner befitting such a hefty price tag?
It can easily be argued that 15 neat Modric passes mean little in comparison to one deflected yet game-changing Frank Lampard goal. Luka has all the tools to be a top player, yet the goals, those signatures of brilliance, remain oddly absent.
Arguably, £25 million is a fair fee, just don’t tell those chancers at Madbid.com. Rest assured, master salesman Levy will take Modric’s eventual purchasers to the absolute cleaners.