Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images
Tottenham Hotspur will reportedly rival Manchester United and Inter Milan to re-sign Luka Modric from Real Madrid in the summer. Meanwhile, Benfica are said to be preparing to challenge for Trabzonspor wonderkid Yusuf Yazici.
Spanish outlet Diario Gol reported Modric has already informed team-mate and captain Sergio Ramos of his decision to leave Real at the end of this season, and Spurs are among those interested in his signature (h/t TalkSport).
It’s been five-and-a-half years since Modric left White Hart Lane for the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, during which time he’s gone on to establish himself as one of the best central midfielders in the world.
However, while speculation swirls that the playmaker is leaning toward a departure from Real in the summer of 2018, his manager, Zinedine Zidane, recently gave FourFourTwo the impression he’ll be staying at the Bernabeu:
FourFourTwo ⚽️ @FourFourTwo
A Year in the Life of: Luka Modric (@lm19official) 🇭🇷
Zinedine Zidane: “Luka is fundamental for Real Madrid – he is a sight to behold”
#RMCF #FFTNewIssue https://t.co/w7LvPePYl5
Modric has a contract with Los Blancos that runs until the summer of 2020, giving the Spanish powerhouse two more summer transfer windows to maximise his value before he’ll be free to leave the club for nothing.
Having turned 32 in September, there may be a question as to when Modric’s value will decline, although Goal’s Ben Hayward likened Real’s talisman to a certain other puppeteer for whom age is not the biggest concern:
Ben Hayward @bghayward
Luka Modric with only his 12th goal in 229 appearances for Real Madrid. But as with Andrés Iniesta, his goal stats mean little…
Spurs already boast some of the Premier League’s deadliest craftsmen in Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli, but Modric would be a different class of addition in central midfield if manager Mauricio Pochettino could get his hands on him.
That’s one area of the pitch in which the Argentinian manager could look to improve, and football writer Daniel Harris critiqued the selection when Tottenham took on Real in the UEFA Champions League this season:
Daniel Harris @DanielHarris
That Spurs midfield looks ripe for an absolute doing. Winks and Dier aren’t even top Premier League players, never mind ready for Madrid.
Real will be tough negotiators to convince selling a player with more than two years left on his deal, but Modric could aid their pursuit if he were to start pushing for the exit himself in the months to come.
Elsewhere, Tottenham have also encountered new competition in the race for Trabzonspor ace Yazici after Turkish daily Fotospor reported Benfica are also interested in the attacking midfielder (h/t Sport Witness).
The Super Lig outfit’s academy product has started attracting the attention of some of Europe’s elite in recent months, and football writer Emre Sarigul recently likened him to one already dazzling in the Premier League:
Turkish Football @Turkish_Futbol1
Yusuf Yazıcı is one of the most promising talents in the league, it’s no coincidence that Mesut Özil’s agent snapped him up. Stylistically similar, still needs to perfect his craft but keep a close eye on the Trabzonspor wonder kid
Another architectural asset linked with a White Hart Lane switch, Yazici, 20, is said to be valued at €25 million (£21.9 million) by his club, although Spurs are already blessed in the creative department.
The youngster is sure to keep adding to his list of admirers if he improves his recent record of two goals and one assist in his last five league games, although the competition at Spurs may be considered too tough to crack.