It's all just a stage show, and we didn't even know we bought tickets.
The Luka Modric transfer saga is now somewhere in the neighborhood of a month old, and so far, it's gone exactly as one might have expected. First, the unfounded media reports. Then, Modric making vague statements to the media that didn't make it clear whether he wanted to stay or go, followed by Daniel Levy stating the player was not for sale. Chelsea made a bid, Levy re-affirmed his position, and by all accounts, Luka got pissed.
Those were the first two acts of this three-act play. Act I started when Spurs failed to achieve fourth place and Champions League football, leaving many to wonder what was next for their biggest stars. As Act I closed, Levy stated that Modric was not for sale.
In Act II, the action seriously picked up with a real transfer bid, Levy stating that Modric would not be sold yet again, and Modric making additional vague statements - though less vague, this time around - stating that he'd play as long as he was a member of Tottenham Hotspur but that he wants Champions League football. Right before the curtain fell to signal the end of Act II, Levy and Modric had a row in Levy's office, with Levy telling Modric he would rot on the bench if he continued his insubordination and Modric telling Levy, essentially, to go fuck himself. As Luka walked out of the room and slammed the door, the curtain fell.
Now, Act III is here.
The act begins with reports from foreign media, roughly translated. Their legitimacy is questioned, but they are important reports nonetheless. In them, Modric claims that him and Levy had a gentleman's agreement that he could leave if Spurs were not in Champions League and a club of the stature of, say, Chelsea came along, Levy would let him go. According to these foreign media sources, Modric said that Levy broke this agreement. In English, Modric has said nothing of the sort, but that doesn't mean it isn't true.
On Monday, noticing the turmoil in front of them, Chelsea made a new bid of £27m for Modric's services. With Michael Essien now out for six months, Chelsea need the diminutive Croatian more than ever. This bid will almost certainly be rejected, but it just sets the stage for what will finally happen at the end of the show.
Levy's rejection of Chelsea's £27m bid will cause Modric or his agent to state publicly and in English that they want a move away from Spurs. Levy will hold firm, saying that the player is not for sale and that he would rather let Modric rot on the bench than give into his demands.
At this point, Chelsea will make a final take it or leave it offer of £32m. Regrettably, Daniel Levy will accept this offer, realizing that he cannot handicap his team by turning down that kind of money. The fee will leave fans of both Tottenham and Chelsea dissatisfied. Spurs fans will feel that they did not get enough money for their talisman, while Blues supporters will feel that they paid about £7m too much.
Levy will not give enough of that money back to Harry Redknapp to allow him to buy both an adequate replacement for Modric and a solid No. 9. Spurs, at least for one season, will find behind fourth place rivals Manchester City, Arsenal, and Liverpool. Chelsea will win the title by one point on the final day over Manchester United. Luka Modric will provide an assist to Neymar on the final day of the season.
That's how the end of this play will play out, or at least that's what one of the light techs told me. He could be bullshitting, but I'm pretty sure this guy is legit. He was spot on about ruining the story of that Dimitar Berbatov play that came out a few years ago.
What's a total mystery, however, is exactly how the sequel will play out. Not just Hollywood, but also Broadway is out of ideas these days, so a sequel is all but guaranteed. There are a number of directions that the writers can go, all of them equally plausible. Will Levy continue to be stubborn as Spurs slip into mid-table mediocrity? Will an angel investor provide funding for the purchases of Fernando Llorente and Paulo Henrique Ganso? Will Tottenham's scouts unearth the next Radamel Falcao or Lucas Barrios, an inexpensive stud of a striker who guides Spurs into the Champions League with 30 goals out of nowhere?
No one knows. But I, for one, welcome the inevitable roller coaster.