x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Real Madrid look to bring in Tottenham's Luka Modric

The Spanish champions are in negotiations with the London club, who would want £25 million plus players Ricardo Carvalho and Nuri Sahin in exchange for the Croatian.

Luka Modric, centre, escapes the attention of two Spanish players during Croatia's Group C match at Euro 2012. Christof Stache / AFP
Luka Modric, centre, escapes the attention of two Spanish players during Croatia's Group C match at Euro 2012. Christof Stache / AFP

Tottenham Hotspur have entered into a dialogue with Real Madrid over the potential sale of Luka Modric.

In a significant change from the stance last summer that the midfielder would not be allowed to leave the club under any circumstances, Daniel Levy is discussing a cash-plus-player exchange for the Croatia international.

The Tottenham chairman expects a substantial transfer fee, thought to be in the region of £25 million (Dh143.8m), plus two Madrid internationals, Ricardo Carvalho and Nuri Sahin.

Modric is aware that he is the preferred recruit of Florentino Perez, Madrid's president, and he is likely to reprise the tactics of last summer and publicly ask to leave White Hart Lane, if necessary.

Modric is contracted to Tottenham until 2016 and impressed again on an international stage, in Euro 2012.

His club's failure to reach the Champions League has increased the pressure on Levy to come to a compromise deal on Modric's future, and a sale to Madrid is more palatable than to one of the player's Premier League suitors.

Sahin, 23, a €12 million (Dh55.4m) signing from Borussia Dortmund last summer, struggled to adapt his passing game to the speed and directness of Real's Primera Liga-winning tactics, and while still valued by Jose Mourinho could be sacrificed to make possible a Modric deal.

Carvalho, 34, remains the most technically accomplished defender at the Bernabeu, but had his playing time limited by injury last season.

If Carvalho does return to the Premier League as part of the Modric transfer the former Chelsea defender can expect to be coached by Andre Villas-Boas, who is believed to have accepted Tottenham's proposal to take on their vacant position by the beginning of pre-season.

A provisional agreement to appoint Villas-Boas on a three-year contract is in place following a series of talks between Tottenham, Villas-Boas and representatives, according to sources close to the discussions. The official announcement has been delayed as the Portuguese is still being paid his Stamford Bridge salary of £2m net as part of his March severance agreement from Chelsea.

Tottenham's thinking in approaching Villas-Boas has been to revitalise a football department that had grown stagnant under Harry Redknapp. Levy regards Villas-Boas as a modern, attack-minded coach who will reform the Englishman's lax training culture, improve players' fitness, and prepare them properly for matches as the club moves into a custom-built training centre in Enfield.

Further angered by Redknapp's tendency to publicly undermine him on matters such as transfer strategy, Tottenham's principal had been preparing the ground to replace him all of last season. Extensive talks were held with Carlo Ancelotti before the Italian took up a better-remunerated position with Paris Saint-Germain.

Levy then manoeuvred unsuccessfully to extract a multimillion compensation package from the Football Association for the final 18 months on Redknapp's Tottenham contract as the manager's numerous media allies aggressively pushed him for the England job.

Exploratory discussions were held about Mourinho taking over at White Hart Lane before the Madrid manager reconsidered a decision to return to Premier League football this summer.

Villas-Boas's candidacy has been promoted by Tim Sherwood, one of just two survivors from a cull of Redknapp's extensive support staff, and an individual who is now poised to take on increased responsibilities for player recruitment.

Despite the impressive tactical and organisational qualities Villas-Boas demonstrated in his sole complete season as lead coach, at FC Porto, and while opposition scouting for Mourinho at that club, Chelsea and Inter Milan, the appointment carries an element of risk for Tottenham.

Undermined by Roman Abramovich's failure to swiftly implement an agreed plan to overhaul Chelsea's squad, Villas-Boas struggled to manage certain senior players and results rapidly declined.

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE