Jose Mourinho says he held a private conversation with Luka Modric to ask him if he wanted to join Chelsea, but was flatly rejected by the Croatian.
The 28-year-old almost joined Chelsea in 2011 from Tottenham before eventually moving to Real Madrid a year later. Mourinho was the man who originally brought Modric to the Bernabeu and he has revealed that he was keen to work with him again at Stamford Bridge.
Private phone call
"I called Modric only privately but he doesn't want [to join] Chelsea,” Mourinho told Croatian newspaper Sportske Novosti.
"You know I really appreciate Luka Modric and his qualities. But he stays in Real Madrid.”
It confirms various reports that have suggested the playmaker could be reunited with Mourinho at Chelsea. However, it appears after a tough start to life in La Liga, Modric is now settled.
Modric appeared in 34 La Liga games for Real Madrid last season scoring one goal and assisting six. He also played a key role in their triumphant Champions League campaign, starting 11 games, scoring one goal and assisting three.
Cesc Fabregas: The alternative
Although no date is mentioned with regards to when the phone call took place, it is more than likely that Mourinho's decision to sign Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona came after. Fabregas joined shortly before Spain's World Cup campaign for £26.6m.
Both Modric and Fabregas can operate in a similar, deep-lying midfield role or a more advanced playmaking role. Both have experience in the Premier League, but it appears Modric was Mourinho's first choice.
Tapping up admission?
Although unlikely to cause much of a stir amongst Real Madrid officials, Mourinho admittance could be classed as a form of tapping up, which refers to an official from one club contacting the player of another to try to persuade them to join without his parent club's permission.
It is highly unlikely Real Madrid sanctioned the call meaning Mourinho has, more or less, admitted to breaking the rules. It would not be the first time such an instance has happened.
Ashley Cole affair
The most infamous case of tapping up occurred in 2005 when Mourinho met then-Arsenal star Ashley Cole in a London hotel to discuss personal terms. Arsenal had not given them permission to hold the meeting and Mourinho was eventually fined £200,000.
He won eventually, however, buying Ashley Cole for the paltry sum of £5 million plus the troublesome William Gallas in exchange. Cole went on to contribute to one Premier League title, four FA Cups and a Champions League triumph.