With more spin than a revolving football, Tottenham finally announced the departure of Luka Modric to Real Madrid in bizarre circumstances.
Under the headline ‘Club announcement’, Spurs trumpeted a new partnership deal with Real Madrid and ‘the transfer of Luka Modric’.
"The partnership agreement will see the two Clubs working together in respect of players, coaching, best practices and commercial relationships," announced the club. Translated on the goobledigook search engine, this means, "Real Madrid now have preferred buyer status in respect of our best players.” The ‘partnership’ received a passing mention on the official Real Madrid website.
But this does, in fact, represent progress. Four years ago, the slightest flirtation from Manchester United or Liverpool would precede a star player's exit.
Competition for a Champions League place over the last three seasons has raised the club’s profile and stature and allowed Chairman Daniel Levy to play greater hardball (a role he relishes) with Premier League rivals.
Selling to a foreign football giant means that Modric will have no direct effect on Spurs’ achievements (or lack thereof!) in the coming years. The Croatian might have fetched more money if sold to Chelsea last summer, but the sale of one of our best players to a cash rich rival would have sent out an ominous message about the ambitions of the club.
Unlike our friends on the other side of north London, there will be no burning of shirts or hate directed in Modric’s direction. He was never a ‘badge kisser’ playing up to fans' loyalties with false statements of devotion (cough Van Persie), but a wonderful player and key cog in Spurs’ progression from also-rans to contenders.
The best of luck to him.