The Luka Modric transfer saga is one that seems to just keep dragging on, despite the fact that the transfer window closed a good few weeks ago.
For something that millions of articles were written about, the story is painfully short and simple; Chelsea wanted him, offered big money for him, and Tottenham held firm and refused a deal. And now no doubt, there will be a fallout that will last all season, and if Spurs don’t make the Champions League next year, the transfer speculation will only get louder.
In contrast, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri were the subject of just as many transfer write-ups in the summer, and while Arsene Wenger insisted they were both staying, offers were made that were too pricey to refuse, and the pair made their exits.
Nasri made his ambition to win trophies clear, using it as the primary reason for moving to Manchester City; a justification that Modric used when he made public his intentions to head to Chelsea.
While Arsenal decided that the £22 million was too good to refuse, and sold, Tottenham held their nerve, and even after a £40 million bid for Modric was tabled on deadline day, Spurs refused to be attached to the tag of a selling club.
The sides are now painting two very different pictures as the season gets underway. Arsenal, having won just one of their first five league matches, have had their worst start to the season in 58 years.
A group of new signings on deadline day worth around £29 million don’t seem to have immediately gelled with the rest of the squad, with the Gunners losing to a struggling Blackburn on the weekend 4-3.
And with two own-goals contributing to Arsenal’s weekend embarrassment, the club appear to be in turmoil and possible danger of losing their Champions League spot for the first time since 1996.
It is still early in the season, and doomsday talk is always rife a little early in the media, but Arsenal’s 2-0 loss to Liverpool in the second game of the season in particular showed just how lost the side are without Fabregas or Nasri.
Between the two sales, the club made over £50 million, but have lost that flair and attacking nature that helped them defeat Barcelona, Manchester United, and make a play for the title until late last season.
Tottenham have had a mixed start to their campaign, but after having to face Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City in their first four matches, Spurs are beginning to show their true potential. Modric showed he had no hard feelings as he opened the scoring for Spurs against Liverpool on Sunday, and the north London side's dominance over big spending Kenny Dalglish proved they are serious Champions League contenders this season.
The grin on Modric's face must have made even the most hardened Spurs fan feel a little warmer towards the Croatian, and journalists at the game speculated that before he was mobbed by teammates in celebration of the goal, he had grabbed for the badge on his shirt.
So which club made the better decision in the summer? Based on recent results, how the squads are playing with one another and the way that Arsenal used the money from their summer sales, Tottenham look to have stolen the march on their rivals.
No matter which side of the fence you’re on, on October 2nd when the two face off, it will be an even more interesting encounter than usual, because for the first time possibly ever, it could be Arsenal that are Tottenham’s biggest rivals for a Champions League place.
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