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Aug, 16, 2012

AVB: Modric saga will not distract us

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas says the increasing likelihood of a Luka Modric move to Real Madrid will not disrupt his preparations for the opening game of the new season.

It is believed Modric, 26, will complete a move to Real over the coming days if the North London club can identify a replacement.

Modric has continued to train apart from the rest of the squad as he looks to leave White Hart Lane, and Spurs are reported to have agreed to sell him to Real for an initial fee of £23.6 million, plus a further £3.9 million in add-ons.

The saga of his transfer has rumbled on throughout the summer, with both Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and Villas-Boas saying he would not move until an offer meeting their valuation - thought to be around £35 million - was submitted.

But the manager, who takes charge of Tottenham for the first time in a league game at Newcastle on Saturday, said: "No, this is not a distraction.

"We set out a plan for the player and we have stuck to it. The player is training individually and he doesn't disrupt our environment.

"I think we will have a conclusion [to the transfer situation] in the next couple of weeks. He is still a Tottenham player but, from what the chairman has told me, talks are ongoing. They stalled a little bit two weeks ago, but they have picked up recently."

He said he would like matters concluded as soon as possible so the incoming funds could be used to buy a replacement and boost options up front, where Jermain Defoe is currently the only recognised senior striker.

"Obviously we have outlined a couple of solutions [for a Modric replacement],'' he said. "We have made initial contact with a couple of clubs but I think, before this situation is resolved, we can't do anything because we already have a certain amount of players in that position.''

Defoe, who scored for England in their 2-1 friendly victor over Italy on Wednesday, said: "Luka is a fantastic player. As players, we don't know what's gone on.

"He's been good for the club. If he does end up going, it is hard for us to lose someone like that. But I would say good luck to him.''

The Spurs striker said he was looking forward to the start of the new Premier League season, adding: "The new season has come around quickly. I had a quick break in the summer because of the European Championships.

"But I always look forward to the new season and getting off to a good start. I do feel sharp, and I'm looking forward to it."

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