Tottenham: Modric and his Possible Replacements

Taken from Bettor

When Harry Redknapp was sacked many pessimists and ‘Arry’s media friends predicted a mass exodus from Tottenham. In reality this hasn’t happened; quite the reverse in-fact. 

Bale has signed a new contract, Rafael van der Vaart has reiterated his desire to stay despite interest from Germany and Adebayor is supposed to be signing permanently. Huzzah! It’s not like the British media to print sensationalist news so far wide of the mark, is it!

The only player that is leaving and is seemingly edging closer to his wish each day is Luka Modric. And who can blame him, really? A move to Real Madrid, one of the biggest clubs in the world; a move abroad; a move not to a rival Premier League team; and a move for big money should really appeal to all fans. 

Tottenham have been spoiled watching Modric these past four years. He has been at the heart of everything that has gone so well for us. Setting up attacking moves and dictating the tempo. His tricks, his flicks, his technique-laden passing. Even his long-range shots which rolled lamely up to the keeper have a special place in Tottenham fans’ hearts. 

After his move to Chelsea was constantly blocked by Daniel Levy the way he knuckled down and got on with his job was admirable. The question remains, though, Luka Modric is going and how will Tottenham replace such an important cog in their well-oiled machine?

A lot of players have been linked who could possibly do the same sort of job as Modric, and players at the club already who people may think could replace him. 

Gylfi Sigurdsson a quick-fire purchase under the noses of Liverpool has been touted as one possible replacement. While he has a good range of passing and works hard his role is more attacking and not suited to the deep-lying playmaker role.

Rafael van der Vaart who drops as deep as Roman Abramovich’ back pocket is another possible replacement. Asking him to perform Modric’ role, however, is at the detriment of his goals which have been so important for Tottenham. 

Played in the manager’s favoured 4-3-3 formation, Sigurdsson could be brought in as the attacking tip of the triangle to score the goals which would enable Van der Vaart to play there, though. 

Other players remaining include Tom Huddlestone who quite possibly is the best passer at the club. During the season Tottenham attained Champions League football a midfield of Modric and him out-fought, out-played and dominated others.

A midfield three would suit him better than a typical 4-4-2, and the two extra midfielders would compensate for his lack of athleticism. I can see him becoming a big player under Villas-Boas this season (que jokes that he’s already a big player Har Har). 

Another, Jermaine Jenas, has the stamina and athleticism suited to Villas-Boas’ high-pressing game but looks likely to be off this summer, and of course, there’s Tom Carroll. The young midfielder could be sent out on loan to a Premier League club to allow him to adjust to the demands of top-level football, but his style suits the hole left by the exiting Modric. 

Fans have been raving about Newcastle central midfielder Yohan Cabaye signed from Lille last summer. He looked one of the signings of the season as Newcastle surprised everyone by challenging for the Champions League spots all orchestrated by Cabaye. 

His reluctance to move and the fee of in excess of £25 million would prove him an unattainable target, though. 

This leaves probably the most likely and the most obvious: Joao Moutinho

Practically a like-for-like replacement, Moutinho would enable Tottenham extra defensive discipline without suffering a major lack of creativity. His vision and passing are excellent and is somewhat of a set-piece specialist, (but this is Tottenham, where set-piece specialists go to die I hear you say!). 

Taken from Al Bawaba

Moutinho is a Villas-Boas signing through and through. Having coached him at Porto and was a very important member of the League, Portuguese Cup and Europa Cup winning teams, he would be an integral member of the dressing room; an ally to Villas-Boas; a friendly face if you will.

With Porto president, Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa a notoriously hard negotiator, Moutinho must feel he is stuck between a rock and a hard place as Daniel Levy and Pinto da Costa try and force each other to bite the bullet in a footballing negotiating version of Russian Roulette. It’s safe to assume that this is likely to drag until the end of August.

A more left-field and cheaper replacement is Fulham player, Moussa Dembélé. After being converted into a creative central midfielder by Martin Jol he hasn’t looked back. His tackling, passing and his effortless ability to dribble past opponents would suit the role. 

The fact he is still young at 24 and in the last year of his contract at Craven Cottage would greatly appeal to Levy.

It’s a big ask for whoever will be brought in to fill Modric’ boots. He was a player of undeniable talent and no-one can begrudge him a move to one of the most successful clubs in the world. But filling the gap left by him is of utmost importance to Tottenham and to Villas-Boas’ fluid style of football.

Tottenham, choose wisely.

Written by William Hold
Follow me on Twitter @liam17oi

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  1. Anonymous

    July 18, 2012 at 19:11

    Ganso or Moutinho.

  2. Anonymous

    July 18, 2012 at 19:37

    You left out Nuri Sahin, who could very well come as part of a swap deal with Madric. Brilliant player.

  3. Anonymous

    July 18, 2012 at 19:46

    Enjoyable article. It actually made me chuckle. “where set piece specialists go to die” and the long range shots rolling up to the keeper hahaha. Quality.