Luka Modric last night informed Tottenham Hotspur that he wants to leave the club and sign for London rivals Chelsea."It is normal for a player to dream about playing for a bigger club," he claimed.
Modric, 25, has taken the bold step of asking to be sold in a bid to force Tottenham to accept Chelsea's next bid for him, although he stopped short of putting in an official request for a transfer. Tottenham rejected Chelsea's opening bid of £22m for Modric this week, with the Spurs manager, Harry Redknapp, describing it as "ridiculous".
However Redknapp and chairman Daniel Levy appear now to have little option but to let the Croatian playmaker to leave, after the player went public with his wishes. Modric also firmly knocked back the advances of both Manchester City or Manchester United by stating his desire to remain in London
Modric said: "I want to leave Tottenham as friends. I have enjoyed my time there, but now it is right for me to look at another club. I have an arrangement with the chairman. When I signed my new contract, he said that, if another club came to sign me, they would consider the offer.
"Chelsea are a big club with an ambitious owner. They have great players and they have ambitions to fight for the title and win the Champions League. I want to stay in London. I am very happy here and so are my family. I like the city."
Tottenham had planned to offer Modric, who is understood to receive a comparatively modest wage of £40,000 a week, a pay rise in an attempt to deter Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs, who have both shown interest. Chelsea however are prepared to treble Modric's salary to around £120,000 a week, and are to increase the transfer bid to Tottenham to £30m, even though they have yet to appoint a new manager to replace Carlo Ancelotti, who was sacked on the final day of last season.
Modric last night said his desire to cross London was not motivated by money but by Chelsea's superior record in recent years of challenging for trophies and the chance to play again in the Champions League.
Modric said: 'This is not about money, it is about ambition. When I came to England, I was dreaming about winning titles. That is still the same. Tottenham are a big club, with good players and a good manager, but I want to fight for the championship. Spurs will always have a place in my heart. My experiences in the Champions League have left me with the desire for more."
"I don't want to have an argument with Tottenham. I need to talk with the chairman. I won't ask for a transfer, no. That would be disrespectful."
Chelsea, who hope to announce Guus Hiddink as their new manager next week, are also in talks with Anderlecht over a £20m move for 18-year-old striker Romelu Lukaku. The Anderlecht general manager, Herman van Holsbeeck, said: "There is still a long way to go in the negotiations. We are indeed negotiating with Chelsea, but there are other clubs we are talking to."