Luka Modric has revealed he held talks with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in 2011 over a possible transfer from Tottenham.
The Croatia international starred for Tottenham in the 2010-11 campaign – their first in the Champions League – and was strongly linked with a move away.
He admitted at the time he was interested in a switch to London rivals Chelsea but Spurs were said to have knocked back a £22million offer at the time.
Modric was fully aware of Chelsea’s attempts to sign him and, nearly a decade on, he has opened up on the conversation he held with Abramovich on the billionaire’s yacht.
“With the 2010-11 Premier League season over, I was ready for my summer vacation,” he wrote in Luka Modric: My Autobiography, which is being serialised by The Guardian.
“But it didn’t last long, as my agents – Vlado Lemic and Davor Curkovic – passed on Chelsea’s wish to sign me.
“I was open to the idea of moving, but then things happened at lightning speed. First, [my wife] Vanja and I took a private jet from Zadar to Cannes, where my management team were waiting.
So far so good… https://t.co/GQHwbk8Tu2
— Luka Modrić (@lukamodric10) July 17, 2020
“It was all very exciting. Twenty or so people, who seemed part of the security detail, met us at the boat. It was quick and well organised; just as we made ourselves comfortable on one of the luxury decks, Abramovich showed up.
“He was accompanied by his wife Dasha and their son. I was fascinated by the discreet disappearance of all the security people just as he arrived. It was obvious they were well trained – their timing was perfect.
“He wasn’t beating around the bush and said: ‘We know you are a quality player. I’d like you to sign for Chelsea’. I had come to his yacht to talk, so it was evident I wished the same.”
Modric added: “My feeling was that it was time for a move – I wanted to fight for trophies and win titles, and I felt this wouldn’t happen if I stayed at Tottenham. I wanted to move to a more ambitious club.
“‘Do you think Tottenham will resist your transfer? Are they going to put up a fight?’ Abramovich asked. ‘I think the negotiations are going to be tough’, I replied, because I knew the clubs were not on good terms.”
Modric stayed put at Tottenham for another season before being granted a move to Real Madrid, where he has spent the past eight years and won the Ballon d’Or in 2018.
“I didn’t know if and when [Tottenham chairman Daniel] Levy would agree to sell me,” he said.
“But I was convinced it was time to move on, to a new and bigger challenge. After four wonderful years, during which we felt at home in England, Vanja and I knew this life had come to an end.”
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