JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 23: Luka Modric of Tottenham in action during the 2011 Vodacom Challenge final match between Orlando Pirates and Tottenham Hotspur at Coca Cola Stadium on July 23, 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
So much for the theory that Luka Modric was sitting out of training because Daniel Levy was keeping him out until a sale was completed. He did, in fact, skip training without being excused on Friday and is also refusing to join the U.S. tour. The club and Andre Villas-Boas are irate, and Modric will reportedly be fined £80,000.
Andre Villas-Boas spoke about the situation to Spanish publication AS. Quote below as translated by The Guardian.
"I think Modric is wrong. This will go against him. He has worsened the situation with what he's doing and now the chairman [Daniel Levy] is very angry. This is also not a good time for Daniel Levy, who is in the USA at the moment, because his wife is ill."
Obviously, Luka Modric is in the wrong here. He is under contract and he signed that contract just a couple of years ago. No one forced him to sign that contract, so he should be showing up to training. At the same time, I understand exactly why he's doing this. Pitching a fit, begrudgingly training and submitting a written transfer request did nothing for him last year. If he wanted to leave, he probably had to go nuclear. Levy might have too much pride to sell and let Modric 'win' now, but it's not like this is making Levy less likely to sell him. He didn't sell him last year.
Levy is, at least, ethically doing nothing wrong by holding out for a large fee and asking Modric to train as long as he's under contract with the club. But that doesn't mean that he's made good business decisions. He knew on September 1, 2011 that Modric was going to go nuclear to force a move if Tottenham missed out on the Champions League. When Chelsea won the Champions League in May, he knew he had to get this resolved quickly to avoid Modric acting like this. He failed to do so. He may have the right to hold out for his price and make Modric train, but he had to know this was going to happen.
Right now, I'm just really irritated with everyone. Modric is acting like a baby, but Levy should have had his transfer wrapped up before he was due to report to training.