Modric missing as Madrid nears
Luka Modric was a notable absentee from Tottenham's training ground on Thursday as his transfer to Real Madrid appeared to move closer to completion.
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Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas said earlier on Thursday that he expected Modric at the club's training ground, but Press Association Sport understands the Croatian did not turn up.
There is nothing to suggest that the playmaker has rebelled against his employers, and although Tottenham would not confirm it, reports suggested the former Dinamo Zagreb man is in the Spanish capital undergoing a medical.
Modric, who was fined and forced to train on his own after refusing to go on tour with Tottenham, now looks set to get his dream move after Villas-Boas confirmed that talks between both sides over of a deal worth around £30million were going well.
"I think we will have a conclusion in the next couple of weeks," Villas-Boas said at noon today.
"He is still a Tottenham player but from what the chairman has told me talks are ongoing, they stalled a little bit two weeks ago, but they have picked up recently."
For the second season running Spurs have had to deal with Modric demanding to leave the club, but Villas-Boas hopes the player's exit will be finalised soon to leave him to be able to concentrate on his Tottenham bow at Newcastle on Saturday.
"This is not a distraction," Villas-Boas told a press conference.
"We set out a plan for the player and we have stuck to it.
"The player is training individually and he doesn't disrupt our environment."
Villas-Boas would like the situation resolved as soon as possible so he can use the funds to buy a replacement for Modric and bulk up a squad that currently has only one recognised striker in Jermain Defoe.
"Obviously we have outlined a couple of solutions (for a Modric replacement)," Villas-Boas added.
"We have made initial contact with a couple of clubs but I think before this situation is resolved we can't do anything because we already have a certain amount of players in that position."
Villas-Boas, who was sacked by Chelsea in March after just nine months in charge, insists he is not panicking about his striker shortage and is confident that youngster Harry Kane is now good enough to play in the Barclays Premier League.
Defoe claimed earlier this week that he would have to consider his future if he did not play regularly, but Villas-Boas calmed fears the striker, who scored a fine strike for England on Wednesday night, could leave.
"I have spoken to Jermain and his agent about the situation. The talks were positive," Villas-Boas said.
"Obviously we are looking for one more striker because we need one.
"Jermain scored 18 goals last year. He was a key player and will continue to be. That's the expectancy I have with regards to his future.
"Competition is something that he is used to. The goal that he scored yesterday shows he can make the difference.
"He is tremendous. It was a great goal, he has great technical ability."
Tottenham have been looking to sign a striker all summer, but talks with Manchester City about Emmanuel Adebayor are yet to bear fruit.
Villas-Boas remains hopeful that the Togo striker, who was on loan at White Hart Lane last year, could sign next week, however.
He said: "There are talks (with City). They have been happening for quite some time.
"We have touched on different players in that position, but we have not been able to conclude a deal.
"Our focus and attention is towards that position, which we will try to sort out next week."
Villas-Boas hit out at Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich after he was sacked in the spring and he is now determined to prove his doubters wrong this season at Spurs, who finished fourth last year under his predecessor Harry Redknapp.
"I think you could say that (what happened at Chelsea) has increased the desire," Villas-Boas said.
"You can never put my individual ambitions and hunger above those of the club, but I want to transfer this hunger to the players."