'Arry: "you are staying here FOREVER"
Tottenham Hotspur's chairman, Daniel Levy, has warned Chelsea that Luka Modric is not for sale "at any price" to any club.
Levy also took aim at Chelsea for going public with their interest in the midfielder, who is widely regarded as Tottenham's best player and has attracted interest from Manchester City and Manchester United.
"I wish to make it absolutely clear, as I have said previously, that none of our key players will be sold this summer," Levy said. "We are building a team for the future to consistently play at the highest level, and retaining quality players is crucial to that.
"In respect of Luka Modric, we are not prepared to sell, at any price, to Chelsea Football Club or any other club. We made our stance on this issue abundantly clear in writing to Chelsea. They chose to ignore it and then subsequently made the offer public."
Chelsea swiftly moved to deny they had leaked details of their bid for Modric on Saturday, branding Levy's claims as "nonsense". Harry Redknapp, Tottenham's manager, has described Chelsea's offer for him as "ridiculous", while also insisting he is "irreplaceable".
Spurs reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season, they fell short in their attempt to qualify for next season's competition, finishing only fifth in the Premier League. Modric's ambition to experience the Champions League again is behind his wish for a transfer.
"It's a short period [your career] and you want to fulfil your personal ambitions as a football player, win trophies, play Champions League football every year," he said. "I would like to play in it this year – it's going to be difficult to play without the Champions League."
Tottenham have been in this position before. In 2006, they were unable to prevent Michael Carrick joining United for £18.6m. Two years later United came calling again, this time for Dimitar Berbatov, and after Levy initially rebuffed them, United eventually stumped up £30m for the striker
Berbatov was close to being able to buy out his contract under the Webster ruling, which would have meant Spurs losing him for next to nothing, Modric, 25, still has five years left on his contract. While Berbatov ultimately became a hindrance at the club, Modric has promised he will not hand in a transfer request as he wishes to depart on good terms.
"For the avoidance of any doubt, let me reiterate that we shall not enter into any negotiations whatsoever, with any club, regarding Luka," he added. "We now consider this matter closed."
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