I was delighted to hear Daniel Levy’s statement yesterday lunchtime after seeing Luka Modric plastered over a number of newspapers saying the time was right for him to leave the club. In all honesty I can’t say I blame Luka as from the moment I saw a paper suggestion that Chelsea would pay £140,000 a week to him I fancied his head might be turned; I know mine would be.
But a contract is a contract and whilst Luka may claim that he made an arrangement that should a decent offer come in the Chairman wouldn’t stand in his way he has to get a little bit realistic. Whilst the wages might be the transfer fee is not.
What now follows will be interesting. Will Luka put in the transfer request he feels uncomfortable in making? Clearly if he does so it will hurt him financially in the coming months but the extra wages from a new job will soften that blow.
Then we have his wish that he remains playing for a London club, probably so that he can stay close to Charlie and not disturb the family. It shouldn’t work like that as we all know but with player power seeming to be what it is anything goes. The Berbatov transfer proved that in many ways with him wanting to go to United but City making a higher bid.
Naively, I hope that this is the end of the “crisis” but I doubt that will be the case. One has to hope that if it drags on other clubs outbid Chelsea so that Luka ends up considering a move to a city he doesn’t really fancy. What that bid may end up at who knows. But having watched £18 million Henderson play two games for the Under 21’s and look anonymous on both occasions Luka must be worth at least twice that sum.
If Levy is serious – and I hope he is – Luka will have a couple of uncomfortable training sessions but then life gets back to normal. Players understand these matters and whilst a couple might have felt it offered them a better chance of a game if the club gets off to a flying start it will all be forgotten pretty quickly. Luka might then understand that we too would like to win the League and with the right striker signed might make a challenge.
If we eventually cave in how bad is that? In honesty it is pretty serious but we might be able to cope. As he settled in Rafa looked comfortable in a similar role and often dropped deep to try and take charge of proceedings. That left us light up front and so a Modricless side would be able to afford two proper strikers and we would certainly have the money to buy a very good one.
The Chairman does have other problems to face this summer. His valuations of some squad members is likely to cause him problems as time passes with no Champions League money to contribute towards wage costs if they don’t move on. The squad remains large and with new faces to add quite a bit of business needs to be done.
Paper talk suggests that Martin Jol might like to take some of his former squad to Fulham and QPR were rumoured to be showing similar interest. Last year Alan Hutton could have gone to Sunderland but they were unwilling to match our price. This year that attitude will have to change if we are to do business on Hutton, Jenas, Bentley, Keane and Pav.
Typically we are in for an interesting period but once again the headlines surround one of our best players leaving rather than an outstanding one being added to the ranks.