ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS will be cautious over reintroducing Luka Modric into the Tottenham first team.
Spurs have returned from their pre-season US tour, in which the Croatian did not take part in the hopes of forcing a transfer to Real Madrid, leaving him short of fitness ahead of the Premier League kick-off, with his mental state also a concern for his manager.
The north Londoners are holding out for their £40 million valuation rather than a player-exchange deal before allowing the midfielder to move on, but Villas-Boas acknowledged that it is a tough situation for all concerned.
“It’s difficult,” the Portuguese manager told the media. ”Obviously he has to pick up on his fitness but we’re talking about a player with tremendous talent.
“In a way, the most important thing is to analyse his situation as it stands at the moment, see how the player feels mentally to return and the fact that the club has not received any offers that are rated highly enough for the talent that he is.
“So I have to speak to the player and I think he will understand because he’s a good professional and one who has served Tottenham to the highest level. Hopefully we will get him back but, if not, we will continue to monitor his situation and improve on his fitness on an individual basis.
“He’s a professional for Tottenham and, in ideal circumstances, he should be with the team,” he added after Modric was fined for refusing to travel, for which he has since apologised. ”On a situation of refusal you have to also remind the player of his responsibilities towards Tottenham.
“But the player will, for sure, understand that it’s a difficult situation for him and it’s a difficult situation for us. But the level of the offers we have been having at the moment don’t reach the standard we require.”
Modric’s midfield colleague, Scott Parker, will be unavailable for “four, maybe six weeks” after an operation on 8 August on his Achilles tendon, the Spurs boss also revealed, which rules him out of the Premier League’s opening weekend and England’s first World Cup 2014 qualifiers.
Rafael van der Vaart, however, is set to return to action in the club’s final scheduled friendly, against Valencia on 9 August.