Chelsea's pursuit of Tottenham's creative force Luka Modric has been handed a boost after the Croatian expressed his desire to leave Spurs, as he seeks to play Champions League football and challenge for the Premier League title.
In what would have come as a shock for Tottenham, Modric told the Daily Mail that he wanted to leave the North-London club.
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 had a £22m bid rejected for the 25-year-old, and the Times reports that Blues are set to make an increased second bid, around the region of £25m, to secure his services. With Modric looking to stay in London, the Blues seem to be his natural destination.
He told Daily Mail, 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 is my family. I like the city.
However, Tottenham's stance could prove to be a barrier for the transfer, as the club chairman Daniel Levy, in a statement in the club's website, stressed that the Croatian wouldn't be allowed to move.
The statement read, I wish to make it absolutely clear, as I have said previously, that none of our key players will be sold this summer. We are building a team for the future to consistently play at the highest level and retaining quality players is crucial to that.
In respect of Luka Modric, we are not prepared to sell, at any price, to Chelsea Football Club or any other club. We made our stance on this issue abundantly clear in writing to Chelsea. They chose to ignore it and then subsequently made the offer public.
For the avoidance of any doubt, let me reiterate that we shall not enter into any negotiations whatsoever, with any club, regarding Luka. We now consider this matter closed.
What could trigger the move though, is a sufficiently attractive offer from Chelsea, which Spurs will find hard to resist.
Elsewhere, Goal.com reports that Chelsea are set to sign Genk winger Kevin de Bruyne.The 19-year-old could be loaned to Anderlecht to gain regular first-team football experience while also functioning as a leverage to bring Romelu Lukaku to the Bridge.
He told told Het Laatste Nieuws, I really want to go to Chelsea but the most important thing is that I can play regularly next season. Chelsea cannot offer me this guarantee, Anderlecht can. Also in Europe - in the Europa League.
In so far as there is a deal with Chelsea, Anderlecht is a good springboard in my career. On holiday in Crete, I had time to think about my future. I came to the conclusion that I am ready for a new challenge.
I know also that Genk can play in the Champions League but then they have to go through two qualifying rounds. Honestly, in a deal with Chelsea, I see Anderlecht as a good springboard in my career. I have to weigh up all the options with Genk and my agent but if I can better myself financially and footballing-wise, I hope that Genk would not stand in my way.
However, Chelsea seems to have failed in their bid to capture Brazilian wonder-kid Neymar. With ex-Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho prepared to meet the asking price of £40m, the 19-year-old could head to Real Madrid, especially since Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is not willing to go above £30m for the youngster who is unproven in Europe.