Spurs: Modric goes the Tevez route encouraged by Real Madrid
Every summer football forces its way back to the forefront of the back pages with a contract row caused by a talented player at a top club who has spotted an even bigger club who want to offer him a better chance to 'win trophies'.
This year it's Luka Modric of Tottenham who recently refused to train and join a pre-season tour to North America - another player earning £40,000 a week who decides he won't do what he's paid for because he want to earn even more somewhere else. Maybe he got the idea from sometime golf caddie Carlos Tevez.
Most fans have no problem with players maximising their earnings and we long ago stopped expecting them to be loyal to clubs - after all clubs are fairly quick at moving stars on if there's a drop in their performance.
But clubs have to honour contracts. And put simply, players should too. Robin Van Persie has made it clear he wants to leave Arsenal but he's doing it by declining to sign a new contract. The Gunners aren't happy but they have the choice to sell the striker now and/or arrange replacements.
Modric's case is a bit different. He signed a six year contract- yes, six - in 2010. A bit of good business by Spurs and presumably his agent told the player that it was good business for him. Since then he's been doing everything he can to wangle out of it.
The reason he wants to get out is that Real Madrid have entered the picture and have started playing their usual game. Contracts mean little to some players and even less to Real Madrid. Their modus operandi is to make an offer (lower than the other club's valuation) and then encourage the player to agitate for a move.
Real work on the principle that rules don't apply to them and in some respects they are just the most flagrant abusers of the rules against tapping players up, which are something of a farce.
The problem for Modric , Real Madrid and any other suitors is that unlike Arsenal Spurs don't have to sell, because the Croatian is their man until 2016. And by giving him a six year deal Spurs were saying Modric was the man they wanted to build the team round.
In that circumstance Spurs are right to want £40 million because that's what they might need to get a marquee player. Eventually they probably will sell, as its not worth keeping a malcontent- but they can play hard ball in the meantime.
It's just a pity for all concerned that players don't think a bit more before signing huge, long-term contracts. Essentially they want it both ways - protection against loss of form, injury or falling out of favour but the opportunity to jump ship at the first better offer. No one forced the midfielder to take a six year deal.
It would be nice to see the PFA weigh in and make statements about their members honouring their contracts out of respect for the fans who part with their hard-earned cash to watch them - but don't hold your breath.
Instead we see players refusing to turn out for their huge wages, agents whining on about how it's unfair to their clients and hypocritical teams like Real Madrid shamelessly destabilising rivals.
There's always been excitement with the start of a new season but in the modern game it's not just about the joy of seeing the game again - there's also the relief of seeing the back of a summer that usually shows the game at its worst.
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