Underrated. That’s what Luka Modrić was for many seasons until the 2018 World Cup. His performances for Croatia changed the opinion of almost everyone who witnessed the tournament. After winning the Golden Ball Modrić finally received the recognition he deserved years ago.
Even long after he made the switch from rainy London to sunny Madrid, the Croatian was still seen as a ‘boring’ transfer, one that fans did not appreciate at the time but little did they realise how special of a player they had on their hands. At Tottenham Hotspur, Modrić was the spine and heart of the team; even with Gareth Bale stealing the spotlight (the infamous 4-3 attempted comeback against Inter in the Champions League will forever haunt Inter fans) Modrić was appreciated by the footballing purists for his ball control, creativity, precise passing and most impressively, his dribbling ability.
The first half of his debut season in Spain wasn’t spectacular, Modrić was actually voted as the "worst signing of the summer" in a poll ran by Marca, ahead of Barcelona's Alex Song. By the end of the campaign, however, he was one of the team's standout performers.
Reports surfaced over the last day or two linking the Croatian superstar with Inter Milan and the possibilities of him joining are… actually quite legitimate in my opinion.
Let’s break it down – Modrić is 32 years old with 2 years left on his contract, he’s won everything he could possibly win at Real Madrid including the elusive Champions League four times, not just once but four! He’s won a Copa Del Rey and La Liga to match. Not bad for a player that was voted the "worst summer signing of the 2012/13 season". I think this is most opportune moment for the Croat to seal his legacy by conquering three leagues (Including the Croatian & English Premier League). Modrić has shown his quality in England without a trophy but in Spain he surpassed expectations and this year’s World Cup cemented his position as the best central midfielder in world football currently.
Modrić was never a prolific goal scorer or assist machine. In his final season as a Tottenham Hotspur player he managed to score 4 goals and assist a further 4.
A mediocre return but his true strength lies in driving play forward and creating key and clear cut chances. He averaged 70.39 passes per game during the 2011/12 season for Spurs, while he averaged 59.5 passes per game in the 2017/18 season for Real Madrid. This drop can attributed to a change in his style of play. At Spurs he was asked to sit deep and dictate play with his range of passing and creativity.
At Madrid, he was transformed into more of a box to box player, driving forward and gives Toni Kroos a passing option as well as being the link man between the attackers and midfielders. To prove that he doesn’t just sit in the final third, he averages 1.3 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game. For a 5’6 creative work horse, those returns are impressive.
Inter Milan aren’t biting off more than they can’t chew. They’re building a team that will compete for the Scudetto and make a run in the Champions League.
The signing of Radja Nainggolan and the free transfers of Stefan De Vrij and Kwando Asamoah were a pleasant surprise and a shot of much needed Champions League experience, the Nainggolan signing, in particular was needed to inject more physicality and runs into the box.
Spaletti transformed Nainggolan into an energetic, goal scoring 10, scoring a career record 10 goals last season, and in my opinion Modrić would be the perfect foil for the Indonesian, given his ability to drive forward with the ball and play key passes from deep and dictate play.
Although with Juventus still looking far from loosening their grip off the domestic title and other challengers rising to the occasion in Napoli and Roma, this Inter squad enters the new season with hope, experience and a desire to compete. Having lost their midfield controller - Jorginho to Chelsea, Napoli is significantly weaker but is still a formidable threat with Hamšík, Mertens, Diawara and Insigne.
Roma have added Javier Pastore, Justin Kluivert but more importantly have kept a hold of Kostas Manolas and Edin Džeko who arguably is coming off his best season yet. Even AC Milan have improved with the tried and tested Gonzalo Higuain and up-and-coming star Mattia Caldara with Bonucci going the other way giving them a significant push towards the title.
At this point, Modrić has one big contract remaining and if he’s willing to be ambitious, then a move to Serie A could pique his interest. He would be following in the footsteps of his ex-colleague and friend Cristiano Ronaldo, who at 33 is still looking to be the difference and prove himself for The Old Lady.
The links between Inter Milan and Luka Modrić is intriguing but it would cap off a fantastic summer of arrivals for Inter. After flirting with qualification since 2013, the allure and romance of the Champions League finally returns to the San Siro and they will surely want to repeat the legendary victory of 2010 and assemble a squad worthy of going deep in the tournament and compete at all fronts. Roma’s Champions League run in 2017/18 ended with a semi-final appearance from an Italian club other than Juventus can be seen as inspiration for the Nerazzurri. Signing Luka Modrić signals their intent and seriousness - Could he be "Lucky Luca" for Inter just as he was for Real Madrid? Only time will tell.
Would he be a good signing? Leave your comments below!