Daniel Levy, the Tottenham Hotspur chairman, told Croatian midfielder Luka Modric last night that he is not prepared to consider selling him at any price.
Modric flew into Heathrow Airport from Zagreb and was driven straight to a 30-minute meeting with Levy at White Hart Lane. A smiling Levy afterwards said: "We had a very good conversation and, as I've said previously, Luka Modric will not be sold. That's the end of it. As I said a few weeks ago, there's no further discussion on it.
"He's been on holiday but we've now had the conversation and he understands our position," Levy added. "I'm sure once he's back with his team-mates everything will be fine."
Tottenham rejected a £22m bid from Chelsea for Modric last month, prompting an outburst in which the player openly talked of his desire to move across London. It is understood Modric, 25, now regrets his comments and is keen to rebuild his relationship with Tottenham, who accept that he has been poorly advised. However he would still prefer to move to Chelsea, who are offering Champions League football and are prepared to nearly treble Modric's current salary of £45,000 a week, to £120,000 a week. Tottenham's pay structure makes it impossible for them to come close to matching Chelsea's offer, although it is believed they are willing to offer a pay rise on the six-year deal he signed in May last year.
Tottenham hope to convince Modric to stay at White Hart Lane for one more season and then if the club fail to finish in the Champions League places again, they will allow him to leave in a year.
Chelsea are thought to be prepared to go as high as £30m to land Modric, who excelled in Spurs' unexpected run to the Champions League quarter-finals, and has also attracted interest from Manchester United who see him as a potential replacement for Paul Scholes.
Levy insisted he is not interested in selling Modric even if they receive higher offers. He said: "It would make no difference. This is not about money. We're not selling our best players."
Earlier in the day, Modric had left the door open to a move when he arrived at Zagreb airport. Asked if a transfer to Chelsea was possible, Modric replied: "Anything is possible, of course." Levy was asked if Modric was happy to stay, and the Spurs chairman replied that he "understands" the club's position.
The Tottenham manager, Harry Redknapp, also repeated the importance of keeping hold of the club's best players. Speaking before Modric's meeting with Levy, Redknapp said: "It's difficult when crazy sums of money are being bandied about but we need to keep Luka and all our best players if we are to improve. Luka is a fantastic player and we need to keep him at the club."
Modric is unlikely to put in an official transfer request to try to force a deal through. Last month, he said: "I won't ask for a transfer, no. That would be disrespectful. I hope they can reach an agreement that is satisfactory."
Chelsea are also keen on Radamel Falcao, Porto's Colombian striker, who said yesterday he wants to leave Porto and move to the Premier League. The 25year-old striker, who set a new goalscoring record of 17 goals in 14 games during last season's Europa League campaign, has a buy-out clause in his contract of £26m, but Chelsea are hoping to negotiate a deal.
Falco, who is currently in Argentina with his national side for the Copa America, said he hopes a move to England will happen this summer. He said: "There is a club that I dream to play for. They are foreign but I do not want to say who it is now. The Spanish league is good, but I prefer the Premier League as there is a better atmosphere on the field.
Reports in Italy indicate Juventus are interested in signing Chelsea's Nigerian international John Obi Mikel for £15m. The 24-year-old has made 158 appearances for Chelsea since joining on a £16m deal from Norway's Lyn in 2006.Reuse content