Spurs struck by Modric blow as Milan challenge draws closer

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The Independent Football

Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric will be out for around two weeks after having his appendix removed. The club confirmed yesterday that the Croatia international underwent surgery on Tuesday night, meaning he could now miss the Champions League last 16 first-leg at Milan on 15 February.

Tottenham said in a statement: "Luka Modric has undergone surgery to remove his appendix. The Croatia midfielder was diagnosed with acute appendicitis after contacting our medical staff complaining of abdominal discomfort. He is likely to be sidelined for around two weeks."

The 25-year-old has been in sparkling form for Spurs for the past few months and his loss is a huge blow for manager Harry Redknapp, who is already without key midfielders Gareth Bale (back) and Tom Huddlestone (ankle). Redknapp has even bigger problems in defence, with Younes Kaboul yesterday undergoing surgery on a knee injury and captain Ledley King also set to go under the knife.

Redknapp has warned Tottenham's rivals he expects to be in the market for a big signing again this summer after confirming the club had made a £35m bid for Giuseppe Rossi on transfer deadline day.

Redknapp spent most of Monday at the club's training ground hoping to land a big name and had targeted Villarreal's Rossi and Atletico Madrid forward Sergio Aguero, for whom Tottenham reportedly offered £38.5m. Had either bid been successful, Tottenham's transfer record of £16.5m, which they paid for Modric, would have been smashed.

Redknapp insists Tottenham were serious about paying such high fees and expects chairman Daniel Levy and owner Joe Lewis to fund a similar purchase if it is deemed necessary when the transfer window reopens.

He said: "Daniel always said that if we found the right player then we would have gone for him but it was difficult. He tried something with Rossi. I think he offered £35m in the end.

"It's hard to get top players unless you pay top money. You couldn't get Rossi because Villarreal don't want to sell you him. The chairman would have bought someone for £30m though, for sure. He wanted to bring someone in. There was no doubt that he wanted to do it. He wanted to get somebody in and if Daniel and Joe Lewis can find the right people they will have a go again."

Redknapp also failed in bids to land Everton defender Phil Neville and Blackpool's Charlie Adam. In contrast to their approaches for Rossi and Aguero, Spurs are thought to have initially offered just £250,000 for Neville before upping their bid to £1.5m. David Moyes slammed Tottenham's original bid, describing it as "insulting". "It was a pretty low offer for a good player," Redknapp admitted.