x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Real Madrid consider move for Sandro

The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder wants to play Champions League football.

Sandro wants to play Champions League football next season.
Sandro wants to play Champions League football next season.

LONDON // Tottenham Hotspur have been threatened with the exit of at least two key players following their failure to secure Champions League football. Sandro has joined Luka Modric in attempting to secure a move to a club that will play in next season's competition and is under active consideration by Real Madrid.

The Spanish side have been asked for a transfer fee of £35 million (Dh210m) for the Brazil midfielder, who instructed his agent to explore the market at Champions League clubs.

Jose Mourinho is interested in bringing Sandro, 22, to the Bernabeu, though he will not do so at a price four times the figure Tottenham paid Internacional for him last year.

Real would, however, be prepared to do business for Sandro as part of a swap deal for Lassana Diarra, who has been agitating for a move away from Madrid and is wanted by his former manager, Harry Redknapp, on a season's loan.

Mourinho values the France international at just short of £20m and has no intention of letting Diarra leave on loan.

Tottenham have been placed in a still more difficult position by Modric, who has been targeted by both Manchester United and Chelsea.

After the White Hart Lane club rejected a £22m offer from Chelsea last week, the Croatia international reiterated his desire to continue playing top-level football by asking to be allowed to discuss personal terms with his Premier League suitors.

"I want to leave Tottenham as friends," said Modric. "I have enjoyed my time there, but now it is right for me to look at another club. I have an arrangement with the chairman. When I signed my new contract he said that, if another club came to sign me, they would consider the offer.

"Chelsea are a big club with an ambitious owner. They have great players and they have ambitions to fight for the title and win the Champions League.

"I have settled very well in London and my family also. It is also near to Croatia, two hours on the plane so everything about London is great. Chelsea are the only one who sent an offer and they are, at the moment, my first choice."

Though Modric, 25, renewed his Tottenham contract in May 2010, he remains below the £71,000-a-week wage ceiling at White Hart Lane and would be in line for substantially improved terms at either Chelsea or United.

Tottenham, who have a history of selling their best players to other Premier League clubs at substantial profit and are actively attempting "to streamline" an overmanned squad, insist they will not countenance selling Modric this summer.

"I wish to make it absolutely clear, as I have said previously, that none of our key players will be sold this summer," Daniel Levy, the club's chairman, said yesterday. "We are building a team for the future to consistently play at the highest level and retaining quality players is crucial to that.

"In respect of Luka Modric, we are not prepared to sell, at any price, to Chelsea Football Club or any other club. We made our stance on this issue abundantly clear in writing to Chelsea. They chose to ignore it and then subsequently made the offer public. For the avoidance of any doubt, let me reiterate that we shall not enter into any negotiations whatsoever, with any club, regarding Luka. We now consider this matter closed."