Real Madrid have made a breakthrough in the long-running transfer negotiations with Tottenham Hotspur for Croatian playmaker Luka Modrić, according to The Guardian and the BBC.
The 26-year old midfielder is expected to meet with Madrid officials, undergo a medical and agree personal terms within the next 48 hours, although Tottenham may delay announcing the finalization of the deal until they have secured a replacement; the London club is currently negotiating for Yann M'Vila of Rennes and João Moutinho from Porto.
Despite resisting a forceful approach for Modrić from Chelsea last summer, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has been clear that the Croat can leave for the right price. Although the player made clear his desire to sign for Real Madrid early in the summer, the difference in valuations between the two clubs has drawn out the transfer saga for months. Spurs have attempted to get as close to the £40m ($63m) they were offered by Chelsea last year, while Madrid have adamantly refused to offer more than £30m ($47m). Spurs also rejected the idea of part-exchanges with Nuri Sahin and Ricardo Carvalho.
Modrić, typically regarded as a quiet and drama-free player by his colleagues, seemed to view Levy's rejection of Madrid's offers as a violation of an agreement that he would be allowed to leave the club this summer in return for not causing trouble about their rejection of the Chelsea bid. The midfielder refused to travel with Tottenham on their pre-season tour of the United States and has been training on his own, away from the first-team squad.
These tactics, as well as the impending start of the Premier League season, may have been successful in convincing Spurs to accept a lower sum. The initial transfer fee is thought to be as low as £25m ($40m), with unspecified add-ons of up to an additional £5m ($8m). If these figures are correct, this would represent an immense coup for Florentino Pérez and Real Madrid's negotiation team.
With Modrić's arrival now looking certain, Sahin's place in the Madrid squad this season appears even more tenuous. The young Turkish midfielder is expected to spend next season on loan to Liverpool, which will provide him with the high-level experience he needs to continue his development. The Merseyside club seem to have beaten out Arsenal for his services.