Riccardo Montolivo of Italy and Fiorentina speaks with the media during a press conference Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
There isn't a single active member of this community that thinks Tottenham Hotspur is better without Luka Modric. We've had endless debates about whether or not we should let an unhappy player leave and how much Modric is worth, but the overarching theme is that we need Modric. Losing his quality is only an option if there are serious consequences to keeping him or the opportunity cost of not selling him is too high.
More or less, the issue with selling Modric is that replacements do not grow on trees. There are more great central defenders, wingers, target strikers and defensive midfielders in the world than there are deep-lying playmakers. Real Madrid dropped £30 million on Xabi Alonso for a reason. A great regista is hard to find.
Well, it appears that one just sprouted up. According to various reports, including this one from Yahoo! Eurosport, Fiorentina are set to sell Riccardo Montolivo to a foreign club after he rejected a new contract. Based on the fact that Fiorentina are facing stiff competition in Serie A for a European place and Montolivo is in the last year of his contract, this rumor seems very plausible.
If losing Luka Modric is an inevitability, either because the money is too good or he's a cancer to the club, you can't do much better than Montolivo as far as possible replacements go. He's an absolutely outstanding passer of the ball and probably a slightly better defensive player than Modric. He will probably take some time to adjust to English football and might not have quite the creative quality of Modric, but he's damn close. It's about as like for like of a replacement as we're going to find at a reasonable price.
Now, what would Fiorentina ask and what would be reasonable? Any answer to that question is purely speculative. It's impossible to know. However, taking into account Montolivo's pedigree, age and current contract situation, a fee in the general neighborhood of £15m, give or take a few million pounds, would be a great deal for both the selling and buying club. And we get to rip Chelsea off for Modric. Everybody wins!
Come on, he's better than Scott Parker.