| 10.5°C Dublin

Luka on way to Real

LUKA MODRIC looks to be on the verge of a £40million move to Real Madrid in the coming days.

With Chelsea having agreed a deal to bring Brazilian star Oscar, the Croatian star looks set to join Jose Mourinho at the Bernabeu.

Madrid are understood to have offered Turkish star Nuri Sarin plus cash for Modric but Daniel Levy wants cash although he will not get the £50m he was initially looking for.

Yesterday, Spurs' new head coach, Andre Villas-Boas, confirmed that the club would listen to offers for Modric after he once again informed them he would like to leave.

"The interest Luka is getting from a number of different clubs is the same as he got last year," Villas-Boas said. "Luka is a player of major importance for the football club and that is why he attracts so many clubs.

"At the moment, it's in the hands of the chairman to accept the right proposition."

Villas-Boas also spoke of how he has challenged the club's players to win the Premier League next season, and how he has learnt from his bruising experience at Chelsea - and of the broken promises of Roman Abramovich.

Speaking from Spurs' stunning new £45m training facility, he said: "I respect the decision of the owner of Chelsea but I will never accept it.

"I told him (Abramovich) that it was him quitting on me when he had been so much involved in the beginning in bringing me in and he was the one, also, who was not putting up to the things he promised."

It was the first time, more than four months after he was sacked, that Villas-Boas has spoken publicly about what happened at Chelsea. Although he was being presented as the man to lead Spurs, having signed a three-year deal and given a clear, exciting mandate to take the club forward, challenging for all the competitions they enter, Villas-Boas certainly did not shirk the inevitable questions of what went wrong at Stamford Bridge.

Abramovich personally wooed Villas-Boas and paid more than £13m to release him from his contract with Porto, where the 34-year-old had swept the board of titles in his first season in charge, and asked him to overhaul an ageing squad, transforming them into a more attractive football team.


It was, the Portuguese was told, a "three-year project", and he would be backed come what may, but it was halted after eight months - with Chelsea then going on to win the Champions League and FA Cup.

"It was a tremendous learning experience which I am grateful in some ways to have gone through because it made me a better coach and a better person," Villas-Boas explained. "But the decision to cut it short was not mine and for Chelsea to have won the Champions League and to have won the Cup was because we were still in those competitions.

"I had the opportunity to win them cut short and I had cut short the opportunity to qualify for the Champions League when I was just three points off the fourth position. And this is what I recall from the day when I was sacked."

It was confirmed yesterday that former Germany international and ex-Spurs midfielder Steffen Freund would be Villas-Boas's No2.

The manager congratulated his former assistant, Roberto Di Matteo, and the players after their "fantastic" Champions League win in Munich and although he "put that squad together" he did not feel "what they achieved was part of what I left there".

However he argued that the reaction following his dismissal was an "extremely strong emotional" response which helped the players.

And so to Tottenham Hotspur where Villas-Boas has succeeded Harry Redknapp and is prepared to meet expectation head on - and then exceed it. There is no need for motivation. He has a point to prove. And that includes being title challengers.


"It's a proposition I put to the players on the first day that we met," Villas-Boas revealed. "We have to see, of course, whether it's realistic or not.

"But we would like to assume this responsibility, not to put more pressure on ourselves but because it goes along with what we are trying to build at this club."

Villas-Boas said that although the chairman, Daniel Levy, did not ask him about objectives, winning the Premier League "is something I would like to propose. We are trying to put together a squad that makes us compete for the title".

"One thing that's important is that we'd like to compete in the four competitions differently, particularly in the Europa League, which is the first European competition I've won," Villas-Boas added.

"Hopefully I can get some more titles. It's a competition that has so much history in this club, too. So we would like to extend our competition for titles to all of these competitions.

"If we are able to do that it means that we are taking the right steps towards what the chairman wants for the future."