Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Spurs talk tough as Chelsea court Modric

Tug of war: Chelsea are determined to sign Luka Modric but Tottenham are not prepared to part company with their midfielder without a fight

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has reiterated his desire to keep hold of star playmaker Luka Modric amid claims that Chelsea have raised their offer for the Croatian

Reports yesterday suggested that Chelsea have increased the initial £22m they bid for Croatian Modric, who launched a stinging attack on Spurs chairman Daniel Levy on Saturday.

“I've not heard anything,” Redknapp said.

“They (Chelsea) are going to make an improved offer? I should think they would need to! £22million for Luka Modric would be a joke anyway if he was for sale. He's a fantastic footballer. The offer is a joke in terms of how much money they have offered.

“Most importantly we need to keep him, he's a fantastic player for us.”

Tottenham fans rejoiced last week when Levy emerged from showdown talks with Modric to insist the midfielder understood he would not be sold this summer despite Chelsea's interest.

However, their celebrations may not last long as the Blues’ determination to sign Modric is only likely to increase after news emerged that midfielder Michael Essien has been ruled out for six months.

The Ghana midfielder damaged ligaments in his right knee during a training session last week, the third serious knee blow of his career, and has undergone an operation.

A Chelsea statement read: “Following an injury to his right knee in training last week, Michael Essien had surgery today to repair a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus. The surgery was successful and Michael's full recovery could take up to six months.”

The tide already started to turn against Spurs on Saturday when Modric gave an interview to a Croatian newspaper in which he stated his desire to complete a “dream” move to the Blues.

What hurt the club most was the 25-year-old's personal attack on Levy, who Modric accused of being “arrogant” and reneging on a previous agreement to allow the player to leave if a bigger club came in for him this summer.

Modric also claimed that new Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas was interested in signing him, prompting speculation that Chelsea would return with a higher offer than was lodged when the club did not have a manager last month.

Redknapp admits having Levy and Modric come to loggerheads in such a public fashion has left him in a “difficult situation”.

“It's up to the chairman, he makes those decisions,” Redknapp said.

“I certainly wouldn't want to lose him but it's a difficult situation. He's a fantastic boy, a great player, and it's not easy when people come along and start offering to double or treble your wages, it must make it very difficult for him and I understand where he's coming from a little bit. But I'm desperate to keep him.”

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