Maybe Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas doesn't have the control you think he does.
So as things stand currently it's looking more and more likely that the vast quantity of
sticky, wallwards-flung crap shakily-founded rumours heard in recent months about Luka Modric finally making the unthinkable journey across the North/South London divide and becoming a Chelsea player might soon actually be proved true. The bad omens of Modric's exclusion from our season-opening games against Hearts and Manchester United are certainly not a cause for optimism, and could foreshadow his falling into Roman Abramovich's greasy hands.
Though this will sale will severely dent supporter morale and our chances of a top-four finish this year, it is important to note that the sudden renewal of interest in little Luka does say some important, maybe even heartening things about the team he could soon be joining. Indeed, it may even be an indicator of a brewing crisis at Chelsea.
Allow me to break down my reasons for launching into this wild speculation. First of all, it is important to note that talk of Luka departing for Chelsea, even the rumours of his supposed ‘transfer request' that popped up around July, all began prior to Andre Villas-Boas' appointment as Chelsea manager. Furthermore, though the question of whether Modric would be joining the club lingered long after this event, a steady dissipation in interest him has been seen since AVB came on board.
By contrast, the Portuguese wunderkind has been equally or more dogged in his pursuit of other players such as Javier Pastore and Romelu Lukaku during the early days of his tenure. Indeed, up until the start of the season, talk of Modric making the dreaded move had practically ceased. What does this tell us about the transfer in general? Possibly, it could be taken as a sign that Modric may be considered a CLUB target, but not necessarily one for AVB, who may be an admirer or even a devotee of Luka's ability, but has not seemed to be the driving force behind his transfer.
So what can we infer from this fact when we consider it in light of the sudden upsurge of interest in Luka in the past two weeks? Let's consider the context. First of all, Villas-Boas has been shrewd but not prolific in the transfer market this summer; many journalists are struggling to place where Chelsea should be finishing in the League as a result.
Secondly, the draw against Stoke and the spluttering win against West Brom at home can only be considered disappointing early results for a coach who was so massively hyped upon his appointment. In addition, eyebrows have also been raised over his failure to find a solution to the problem of how Drogba and Torres should fit together in the first team tactically, an issue that almost certainly contributed to his predecessor Carlo Ancelotti's downfall.
To boil it all down and get to the point (finally), all of this leads me to believe that what can be taken away from the revival of Modric talk is, quite simply, that Villas-Boas has not yet made a positive mark at Chelsea. AVB's preseason maneuvering has not been that exciting; his first results below what was expected of him and his tactics questionable. What we are seeing with the renewal of interest in Luka could thus be the signs of a slight crisis of confidence at the Chelsea camp; an indication that Villas-Boas has not brought a spark to the club to revive their fortunes, that something is still clearly missing in the eyes of the board and/or the Chairman. An implicit need can be read into a potential upcoming bid for Modric for someone who will provide lacking energy, sparkle, a shot to the system, something Luka has always injected into every Spurs game he's featured in. Put simply, it's the admission that something is not right at Chelsea.
Considering how nervous I was about what AVB's appointment to the post, this is definitely a good sign, even if it does necessarily imply the imminent loss of one of our best players. Modric's move could prove to be a classic case of money being thrown at a problem; and the existence of such as problem at all is a cause for celebration.
Yes, as I mentioned earlier, this is generally nothing more than wild, unfounded speculation. But so are almost all of the rumours that have unsettled and worried us so much in preseason, and hey, maybe it's time for the Chelsea/Daily Fail camp to allow us to do a little scaremongering of our own. This is where it starts for me.