Luka Modric has been fined by Tottenham Hotspur for the second time in three days after refusing to travel on the club's pre-season tour of America, in his latest attempts to force through a transfer to Real Madrid.
The club had previously been discussing leaving the player behind in London as they tried to come to an agreement with Madrid but, on Saturday, Modric took matters into his own hands and did not turn up for the team flight to Los Angeles. While it was always a possibility that he might miss the three-match tour, the club feel that the way in which the player has gone about it has been ill-judged.
Modric has been fined for a second time by the club for missing the flight, following an earlier fine for missing training on Friday without permission. He stands to lose up to four weeks' wages – around £160,000 – with the likelihood he will be fined the maximum two-week fine for both offences.
His absence prompted an angry response from Andre Villas-Boas, the new Spurs manager, who told the Spanish sports newspaper AS that this latest move on Modric's part would not go down well with the club's chairman, Daniel Levy. Villas-Boas said: "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."
The deal to sell Modric to Madrid has been accepted by both sides as a probability for some time, but the two clubs have not been able to get close to agreement on a fee for the player, with Levy chasing a value of around £40m. Spurs' priority is a cash deal and that is still the most likely outcome, although it is not impossible that a player might be put in by Madrid. So far they have offered the Turkish midfielder, Nuri Sahin, whose high wages are a problem for Spurs.
As has been the way in recent dealings with Levy and big-name departures from Tottenham, the chairman holds all the cards having persuaded Modric to sign a six-year deal in May 2010, which puts the club firmly in the driving seat. The 26-year-old took Spurs to the brink last summer in an attempt to leave for Chelsea but failed, and once again he is unlikely to break the resolve of Levy.