We may as well resign ourselves (and the ‘we’ here is my fellow Spurs supporters) to the fact that one of our finest players will soon be off. Luca Modric may well have been a major contributor to the team’s high aggregate level of physical unprepossedness – he and Gareth Bale between them must have cracked more mirrors than a cack-handed glazier – but he’s also been a damn fine footballer.
|Actually, he looks pretty good here. I wouldn't, but...|
Which means the chequebooks have been circling like sharks around the Indianapolis since the final whistle of last season’s last game. In the past Mr Levy would have had your arm off if you’d waved twenty mill at him, but since Daniel’s Damascus a few years ago we’re more likely to put up a fight, or at least try a spot of haggling to get the price up instead of just taking the money and hoping we could sign someone half as good.
Luca’s being quite adult about it all – a quite astonishing level of maturity given the Bentley-crashing antics of certain other players who we shan’t name but who rhymes with Ashley Cole – accepting that an offer has been made, and has been laughed out of town, and that he may be worth a great deal of money more than he was a year ago and that a great deal of that money could come his way, but still maintaining a dignified attitude and insisting that he won’t put in a transfer request out of respect for the club. What a lovely man.
Harry insists Luca’s not for sale. But that’s just Harry being Harry. Luca’s going to leave us and there’s very little we can do about it except hold out for at least thirty million.
So who do we le him go to? United are reportedly sniffing about but they sniff about more than a randy bull terrier in the local park, though they might put in a bid just to let their fans keep up the ‘feeder club’ jokes that amuse them so very very much. City are in the ring, and they’re more than capable of upping their price, but they’re also our main rival for fourth place next season (and there’s a surprise in itself. Back when Dan Levy was happily taking fifteen shillings for a twenty-goals-a-season man, City were nobodies and Arsenal were the rich kids up the road. Now City have the money and Arsenal are declining further every season to the extent that Spurs are their major competitor for what should be sloppy seconds to a club of Arsenal’s self-proclaimed stature – which we all know they never really had in the first place). I doubt the wisdom of selling to a club we’re going to be neck-and-neck with in the future.
Which leaves Chelsea.
I don’t like Chelsea.
I know I’m supposed to hate the Arsenal, and believe me I still do. And I know that City are the latest rich kids and that I’m supposed to despise them for buying their success as much I do Chelsea for doing the same, but City always seem to have an element of clown’s car about them – you always expect the doors to fly off at any second.
And while I certainly wouldn’t begrudge Luca the chance to play in Europe without it seeming like either a miracle or first prize in ITV’s half-time competition (YOU! Could Win! Fourth place in the Premier League! Plus £20,000, a bleeding big telly and a hotel room! ONE TIME ONLY!!!), and I wouldn’t begrudge anybody the chance to raise their pay grade from ‘Immodest’ to ‘Absurd and Obscene’ in one go, I’d be miffed if he goes to the Bridge.
I live with a Chelsea fan. He lives in my spare room. Ten years ago he was he was one of the most pleasant people you could hope to meet, but as soon as the Abramovitch money hit, he was transformed into an arrogant bastard. Every half-way decent player – “We’ll buy him”. Every game – “We’ll win this.” It was an extension of the change that came over the club itself. Even though Chelsea had always seen themselves as the better-off cousins of every other team, even though they’d always had a certain undeserved air of superiority, the helicoptering-in of billions in oil money suddenly changed them from the decent fella up the road to whom you wished no ill will to the fella up the road who won a double rollover on Euromillions and straight away started wearing a Max Miller-style fur coat, lighting cigars with fifties while he stood outside the Jobcentre telling everybody how considerably richer than them he was.
Chelsea are the ugly side of immediate riches (QPR may turn out to be the decent side. The next few seasons will tell). And I don’t want to see a decent, honourable footballer tainted by their ugliness. Even if he was no oil painting to begin with.