As Chelsea move in for the Croatian, Spurs fans are starting to come around to the possibility they will be without the 25 year old. But can they live without last years Fans Player of the Year?
Tottenham stroked 19,000 passes in the entirety of the Premier League Season last term, Modric on his own hit 2,070 passes in 32 games, at a success rate of 84%. Therefore, 1 in every 10 passes came from Modric, showing how influential he was on Tottenhams general play. Modric created 64 chances during the season, equivalent to two a game. That figure dwarfs the 47 by Gareth Bale, and the 59 by Rafael Van Der Vaart. So on the face of it, losing Modric would be a massive blow to any hope of Tottenham returning to the Champions League next season.
Modric scored 3 goals and only had 2 assists last season, prompting some to query his true value, but sometimes the stats don’t tell the whole story. Chelsea (or any other side) will need to part with in excess of £35million in order to buy the Croat, they may be buying the Premier League title at the same time.
So if Modric goes, can Tottenham’s over central midfielders raise their game to fill the whole? Assuming Spurs play a 4-4-1-1 formation with Van Der Vaart just behind a striker, Sandro, Jermaine Jenas, Wilson Palacios and Tom Huddlestone will be competing for the two starting roles, how do they shape up?
Sandro featured 19 times in the EPL, having sensibly been allowed to spend autumn settling in England. He created 11 chances and had a pass success rate of 81%. For a debut season in England, these are credible figures. Sandro’s performance in the San Siro against AC Milan was further evidence of how good he could be. However, missing the first three months through injury will be a major setback to his development.
Jermaine Jenas has been at Spurs since 2005, and has a respectable goal ratio of 1 in 7. In 19 appearances last term, Jenas created 19 chances and was successful with 87% of his passes. But his performances against the big sides remain under scrutiny.
Wilson Palacios was the star of the 09/10 season when Spurs took fourth, but 10/11 proved harder for the Honduras international. In 21 appearances, he created only 9 chances, but his pass completion rate of 86% is still credible. But the 5 yellows he picked up proved he is prone to silly tackles. Harry seemingly lost faith with Palacios during the last months of the season.
Tom Huddlestone is the outstanding candidate of the four. In an injury hit season whereby he only started 13 games, he created 21 chances and had a pass completion in the eighties. Should Huddlestone stay fit he will be the outstanding midfielder, possibly knocking on the door of a starting role with England.
If Modric does go and Spurs maintain the 4-4-1-1 system, Huddlestone seems to be an automatic starter. Sandro’s injury and Palacios’ loss of form are problems though, meaning that Spurs may have to bring someone new in. As the stats show, his four rivals at Spurs created 50 chances combined: less than Modric. However, replacing the quality of Modric wont be cheap.