6 Teams That Turned Down the Chance to Sign 2018 Ballon d'Or Winner Luka Modric

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Clubs cannot always tell what is going to happen with a player's career, instead relying on their scouts to predict the player's trajectory. They regularly predict things correctly, but sometimes they make monumental misjudgements.


Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric is proof of this. However, after his recent Ballon d'Or triumph, the Croatian playmaker will not be concerned. He has had a stellar career, but things could have played out so differently.


Here are six teams who turned down the chance to sign Modric at various stages of his career.

1. Arsenal

In his book 'It Shouldn’t Happen to a Manager', former Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp claimed that Arsene Wenger rejected the chance to sign Modric before he eventually moved to to Tottenham in 2008.


Redknapp claimed that Wenger had turned down Modric as he was concerned that the midfielder lacked the physicality to make it in the Premier League


Modric admitted after collecting his Ballon d'Or award that he used Arsenal's rejection as inspiration to improve, saying (via The Daily Express): "I took Wenger's rejection as a new hurdle to overcome. That was his opinion on me at that moment."


He certainly did overcome that hurdle, and he is now widely regarded as one of the finest midfielders in the world.

2. Newcastle United

Arsene Wenger is not the only person to have been concerned with Modric's diminutive stature. Back in 2008, as Modric was set to leave Dinamo Zagreb, he was heavily linked with a move to various clubs, including Newcastle United.


Kevin Keegan, Newcastle manager at the time, admitted in his book 'My Life in Football' that former vice-president Tony Jimenez instructed the club to pull out of negotiations for Modric.


Keegan revealed Modric's agent flew to Newcastle to negotiate the deal, only for Jimenez to interrupt the discussions to say, "I don’t think Luka is good enough for the Premier League. He’s too lightweight. He’s decent, but he’s not good enough."

3. Barcelona

Modric has been a vital player for Real Madrid since joining the club in 2012, but he could have been lining up for arch-rivals Barcelona.


Bojan Krkic, former Barcelona scout and father of Stoke City forward Bojan, revealed to Sport that the club were offered the chance to sign Modric from Dinamo Zagreb in 2008. However, they rejected the chance to sign him as then boss Pep Guardiola felt he would not be an upgrade on current midfielders Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Yaya Toure and Sergio Busquets.


Whilst Barcelona certainly have not suffered without Modric, they may have been able to prevent the midfielder from ending up with rivals Real Madrid.

4. Hajduk Split

During Modric's time in youth football, he faced an uphill battle to salvage his career after he was rejected by Croatian side Hajduk Split. 


Modric admitted to Croatian outlet Nacional that Hajduk refused to sign a 15-year-old Modric as they were concerned about his age and physicality.


As Hajduk are one of Croatia's most prestigious sides, Modric admitted he was heartbroken following the failed trial, and even contemplated whether he had what it takes to make it as a professional. However, he stayed positive and later saved his career by securing a move to Dinamo Zagreb.

5. Sochaux

French Ligue 2 side Sochaux claim to be the first side to express a serious interest in Modric. They had the chance to bring an 18-year-old Modric to the club in 2003, but found themselves unable to finance a deal for the midfielder.


Former head of recruitment Mecha Bazdarevic admitted to France Football that everyone at Sochaux was completely enamoured by Modric, but he was too old to secure a cut-price move to join the side's academy.


They had the chance to sign Modric for their senior side for around £4m, which was a substantial amount for the struggling Sochaux. They had to reject Dinamo Zagreb's demands and watch as Modric developed into one of the world's elite.

6. Tottenham Hotspur

After four stellar years with Tottenham, Modric continued his impressive rise to prominence in Madrid. However, he was heavily linked with an exit from the club this summer, and Tottenham reportedly rejected the chance to bring him back to the Premier League.


Modric was even said to be keen on returning to Tottenham, but the move failed to materialise. It has been suggested that club chairman Daniel Levy was unwilling to meet Modric's wage demands, but this has never been confirmed.


It is believed that Real were unwilling to part with the midfielder, so it is uncertain how plausible a return to Tottenham really was.