If it goes on anymore, there is a real danger that Luka Modric’s future could become a saga of Cesc Fabregas proportions.
While Fabregas dragged his prolonged yet inevitable move to Barcelona out over at least three seasons, Modric is facing a second uncertain summer as both Manchester City and Chelsea continue to flutter their eyelashes in the direction of the diminutive Croatian.
Of course Modric was the subject of a £40 million bid from Stamford Bridge last summer and attempted to worm his way from the grasp of Spurs and into the loving embrace of Roman Abramovich last time round, and could well be the subject of another similar bid this summer if Roberto Mancini’s thinly veiled come-to-bed-eyes allure was anything to go by.
“He is definitely one of the best in the Premier League. But it is by no means easy to get him because he plays for a big club, Tottenham,” the Italian said last week.
“It is unlikely that they would let him leave.
“We are lucky to have another great player from these parts in Edin Dzeko.
“I have worked with quite a few players from these parts — not just Croatians, but Bosnians, Serbs and Montenegrins. I have many friends among them and I am very proud of it.
“They are really something special and they mostly play with invention and creativity."
Since last summer’s saga that threatened to derail their season, Spurs have frantically been trying to convince Modric to extend his current deal at White Hart Lane, which expires in 2016, with the promise of breaking their £70,000 pay ceiling in order to tempt him to stay.
While Spurs gear up for a tug of war over one of their key assets another was flirting outrageously with two giants of the European game.
"If you said to any young player that you could play for Barcelona or Real would they turn it down? Probably not,” Gareth Bale said this week amidst rumours of renewed interest from both La Liga giants.
“If a bid was accepted you would obviously have to seriously consider it. But that has not happened so, at the moment, I'm just concentrating on Tottenham."
While a deal this season is highly unlikely, it is conceivable that the Welshman could be heading off to pastures new if his current stock continues to rise at a rate of knots before too long.
Of more pressing concern is the future of Emmanuel Adebayor. The former Arsenal man has been an instant hit at White Hart Lane since completing his loan move at the start of the season from Manchester United, and is currently the only player in the Premier League to reach double figures for both goals and assists.
The Togolese forward’s impact was fully felt over the weekend as his brace helped Spurs end a run of five games without a win that had put their Champions League hopes in doubt.
Now back on track and level with points Arsenal in third and five points from Chelsea in fifth, the mad dash between four clubs trying to squeeze into two of the remaining four Champions League places has begun.
It was an outstanding run that put Spurs briefly in contention for not just Champions League football next season but also a title challenge that melted away as the tough games started to come thick and fast.
Eleven games Harry Redknapp’s men went without tasting defeat. Their downfall ultimately came in the 5-2 defeat at the hands of north London rivals Arsenal in February – after which they recorded three successive defeats, and back to back draws before finding salvation in the sun at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Since the faltering of their title challenge, the name of the game has been Champions League football. Redknapp has constantly repeated the mantra that European football of the highest order is a must next season, while he has been more active in his attempts to allure high profile names this season than ever before.
Loic Remy and Eden Hazard have both received the Redknapp treatment in recent months while a host of players have been heavily linked with a switch to White Hart Lane including Ajax’s Jan Vertonghen and Brazilian forward Leandro Damiao.
For a man linked heavily with the England vacancy, Redknapp is working tirelessly to secure Tottenham's future, both through new transfer targets and the effort he extolls in shielding his star turns away from the prying fingers of Spurs' rivals near and afar.
The ability to attract players of that calibre will come from Spurs’ ability to provide Champions League football on a regular basis – the main reason the likes of Modric, Bale and Adebayor will consider staying with the club.
Qualification for next year’s tournament is beyond crucial, miss out this time round and existing players attention starts to drift to pastures new and new arrivals will be put off.
It all starts with securing their best players on long term deals and building the club from their, something Redknapp and Spurs have been good at doing recent years if the lengthening of Modric’s contract which enabled them to turn Chelsea down is anything to go by.
Given the spending of both Chelsea and Liverpool in the last 12 months it is something of a surprise that Tottenham have been able to establish themselves above both of those teams with Champions League football not on offer this season.
Excellent and shrewd purchases over the summer plus flaws at Stamford Bridge and Anfield has meant they could leap frog their rivals without spending massively – but it is a courtesy they are unlikely to be afforded for another season should they miss out this time round.
Five points separate them form Chelsea in fifth and the European wastelands. For the present and future of the club, Champions League football is more than a necessity. The last seven games of the season could define Tottenham, and the players entrusted to deliver them to the top four, for a very long time to come.
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