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Tottenham Hotspur cannot force Luka Modric to stay, says Ardiles

Tottenham legend Ossie Ardiles believes his old club will find it impossible to force Luka Modric to stay beyond this season if he remains hell bent on leaving.

Modric was at the centre of one of the transfer sagas of the summer, with Chelsea seeing three bids - the third said to be valued at £40million - snubbed for the Croatia playmaker.

Spurs' refusal to do business angered Modric, who accused chairman Daniel Levy of reneging on a promise to allow him to move.

And former Tottenham midfielder and manager Ardiles cannot see Modric staying at White Hart Lane next season if he remains determined to quit the club.

Speaking at the launch of '19', a book by award-winning journalist Harry Harris which chronicles each of Manchester United's record-breaking 19 league titles, Ardiles told Press Association Sport: "In my time, when all the power was with the chairman or with the club, you could not stop players leaving.

"If a player wanted to leave, at the end of the day, he would leave.

"Right now, with all the power in the player's hands, you cannot possibly stop that.

"If Luka Modric, or whoever, wants to leave the club, he will."

Modric has done anything but sulk on the field for Spurs this season, scoring a sensational opener in Sunday's 4-0 Barclays Premier League thrashing of Liverpool.

Hailing Modric's performance as the "best ever" of his three-and-a-half year Tottenham career, Ardiles added: "He's a lovely, lovely boy.

"Of course it will affect him when suddenly you are going to be earning a lot more money, you are going to be playing in the Champions League.

"You would not be human if you were not unsettled after that.

"Saying that, he realises it's not going to happen right now.

"So these months for him before January are going to be incredibly crucial.

"I think he's going to give everything he has and we're going to be the beneficiaries of that.

"And, of course, he will benefit as well because he may have a transfer in January or he may in July."

The Modric saga was blamed in part for Spurs' miserable start to the season, which saw them heavily beaten by Manchester United and Manchester City.

But they have bounced back in style against Wolves and Liverpool.

"There were a lot of questions about Tottenham, to be perfectly honest," Ardiles said.

"But they answered all these questions last Sunday against Liverpool.

"Suddenly, things are starting to look very, very rosy again."

The same cannot be said for arch rivals Arsenal, who are mired in 17th place in the table after the most torrid two months of Arsene Wenger's near 15-year reign.

The Gunners have never finished below Tottenham since Wenger took charge.

Indeed, Ardiles was at the helm at White Hart Lane for the first two months of the season when Spurs last lorded it over their rivals, but he believes it could happen again this season.

"This year, it's very, very much a possibility," he said.

"Arsenal look their poorest for a long, long, long time.

"For the first time for a long, long, long time, they are maybe going to be the one losing out on the third or fourth spot.

"They've had a terrible, terrible start."

Belfast Telegraph