In news that will surprise absolutely nobody, Tottenham Hotspur are claiming that they have no intention of selling Croatian midfielder Luka Modric to anyone (but especially not Chelsea) at any price, despite Modric making it very clear that he'd quite like to make a switch to Stamford Bridge.
The 26-year-old is due for talks with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy regarding a possible switch, and while Modric is claiming that 'anything is possible' Spurs are marching to a very different tune:
In respect of Luka Modric, we are not prepared to sell, at any price, toFootball Club or any other club. We made our stance on this issue abundantly clear in writing to Chelsea. They chose to ignore it and then subsequently made the offer public.
For the avoidance of any doubt, let me reiterate that we shall not enter into any negotiations whatsoever, with any club, regarding Luka.
In other words, not one thing has changed since this particular transfer saga began about a month ago. And don't expect that to change anytime soon either. If Modric does come, it will be at the end of a long and particularly bloody fight, and we'll probably end up paying a huge amount for him - and undoubtedly far more than he's worth to us.
There's a very good reason why Tottenham aren't willing to negotiate here, and that's because there's a huge discrepancy in his value to each club. On the field, Luka Modric is Luka Modric - an excellent playmaking midfielder whose all-around game is overlooked because of his brilliant passing ability. Off the field though, Modric as a Spurs player is massively, massively different to Modric as a Blue.
No matter what anyone tells you, transfer fees aren't strictly related to actual player performance. They exist because player contracts have a certain value to a club - the purchasing team pays for the seller to break their contract with a player so that they can then negotiate a new one. If a player is on a very team-friendly contract, it will naturally require a huge fee to pry them away, and Modric is on one of the team-friendliest contracts in the world, at £45,000 per week for the next five years.
That means that it's not really worth Tottenham's while to break the deal unless Chelsea offer a staggering amount of money, but to Chelsea the transfer fee should be about what his subsequent contract with the Blues would look like. Modric's next contract, one has to imagine, would involve significantly more money going his way. In other words, despite him being the same player, Chelsea Modric is far less valuable to the club than Tottenham Modric.
This is the sort of thing that makes for an ugly transfer. If Chelsea meet Tottenham's price, they are massively, massively overpaying. If Spurs sell for the sort of money that makes sense to Chelsea, they'll have essentially hugely undersold on their biggest asset. Any compromise becomes a bad deal for both clubs.
It's not about negotiations, or being unreasonable. It's about each team being fully aware of what Luka Modric is worth to them, and that valuation being wildly different for the two clubs. If and when the transfer is forced through, I can't imagine that either side will be happy with it. Hopefully Modric will.