Tottenham spent most of the summer months last year attempting to persuade influential playmaker Luka Modric to stay at White Hart Lane, as Andre Villas-Boas’ Chelsea tempted the Croatian with a move to Stamford Bridge.
And when Spurs visited Arsenal on 26th February, not only were they ten points clear of their north London rivals, they seemed established in third, seven points ahead of the Blues. You couldn’t have blamed Modric for feeling slightly smug at having made the correct decision after all.
Just a couple of integral months later, however, and how different it now looks. Spurs have picked up just six points from a possible 27, a torrid run that puts them only above Wolves in the form table.
Arsenal seem set for third, while Redknapp’s men are no longer even sure that a fourth placed finish will secure a much-desired Champions League spot. And the reason? Chelsea are in the Champions League final, where a win would rob the team finishing fourth of that exact prize.
The result would undoubtedly be another summer of soul-searching for Modric, and his gaffer has recently admitted that Tottenham’s grip on the 26-year-old might not prove as tight this time round:
“Last summer it was vital that we kept hold of Luka, I would be lying if I said I was sure that he would stay this summer.”
Chelsea will once again be sniffing, and should they lift the European Cup on May 19th, their pull might prove irresistible for the Croatian.
Worryingly for Spurs fans, Modric’s departure may not be the only significant one. Harry Redknapp is still the favourite to take charge of England, a move that, coupled with failure to qualify for Europe’s premier competition, could see other key men consider their future – including Gareth Bale.
Just this weekend the Welshman told BBC’s Football Focus: “If we don’t qualify for the Champions League, I have to discuss what’s best for myself.”
Although Redknapp has dismissed suggestions his winger could leave, Bale is thought to be tempted by a big-money move to one of Europe’s great names, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan at the front of the queue following his phenomenal impact in last season’s Champions League.