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Some thoughts on the meaning of today's talk out of White Hart Lane

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We're all aware that Chelsea have had an interest in Luka Modric this summer, but after reportedly having a bids of £22 million and £27 million rejected Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy looked to be trying to end any interest Chelsea may have had:

I wish to make it absolutely clear, as I have said previously, that none of our key players will be sold this summer.  we are building a team for the future to consistently play at the highest level, and retaining quality players is key to that.  In respect to Luka Modric, we are not prepared to sell at any price to Chelsea football club or any other club.

Those are some strong words, and if they are to be believed would imply that Modric will not be joining the Blues.  Modric was unhappy and turned in a written transfer request (pictured here), which Levy promptly rejected.  The club seemed to buy into this thought and moved on to other targets (namely Javier Pastore).  After Pastore chose PSG over Chelsea most journalists assumed that we'd come back to Tottenham with an increased bid to land Modric.  Today we got some new chatter out of White Hart Lane, this time from assistant coach Kevin Bond:

Transfers are part and parcel of the game but you don't want to lose your best players and he certainly is one of our best players. We desperately don't want to lose him but everyone has a price.

This doesn't sound like Levy's stance from several weeks ago at all, as a matter of fact it sounds like Tottenham have had a serious change of heart.  So why the change of stance all of a sudden?  I'll share my thoughts on it after the jump.

Since Pastore chose PSG, the media have been implying that we might come back with an improved bid for Luka Modric.  These articles have basically no hint at a source, so I have a hard time taking them as anything more than media speculation (and not very creative speculation at that).   Gourlay has simply stated that he'll be talking with Villas Boas later this week to try to determine where to go from here.  With McEachran playing very well in Asia and the addition of Romeu, there may seem to be slightly less of a need to buy a box to box player than there was earlier in the summer.

Chelsea have drawn criticism for "lowballing" Spurs with their initial offers.  While £22 million is certainly lower than Modric is worth, I think most would feel £27 million was a much more fair offer.  At 25 years old, I don't think there is any reason to believe that Chelsea would significantly up their offer.  If they valued him at much more than that, I seriously doubt they would have simply moved on to Pastore and dropped all interest in Modric.  

I get the feeling Spurs felt that Chelsea were originally focused on Modric and nobody else.  When Chelsea took this same approach with Torres in January it resulted in an absolutely astronomical amount of money going the other way.  My take (and it's certainly biased in all likelihood) is that Levy simply felt we'd come back again with an even bigger offer.  It's hard to fault Levy for trying to extract as much money as possible from the club for one of their best players.  That said, I think he probably realizes now that he'll not be getting any bids for stupid money.

The actions of Chelsea in the last few weeks would certainly imply that the club isn't going to come back with an offer much larger than what we've already bid (if we come back at all).  I have to think Spurs realize this, and given their reduced earning this year due to no Champions league may actually want to draw Chelsea back into a bid. I really believe that the very subtle message being sent in today's comments was that Spurs will be a little more receptive if Chelsea are willing to come back to the table.  It will be very interesting to see if we hear about a concrete bid in the next day or two, but I certainly don't think Tottenham are quite as dead set in their stance of keeping Modric as they originally appeared to be.  Stay tuned, I'm sure this week will be interesting.


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