Real Madrid set for talks with Luka Modric as Inter Milan interest grows

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Luka Modric’s future at Real Madrid is uncertain after Inter Milan emerged as shock suitors for the midfield star.

Club president Florentino Perez will be involved as Los Blancos sit down with the player and his agent to discuss his future, reports Gianluca Di Marzio.

Inter have followed Juventus’ lead and have been active in this window but a move for the World Cup Golden Ball winner has come as a surprise.

The Serie A outfit already boast a strong Croatian contingent with Marcelo Brozovic, Sime Vrsaljko and Ivan Perisic already at the San Siro.

At 32, Modric has achieved everything he can at Madrid and may be considering life after the Bernabeu.

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Man United near Yerry Mina £30m transfer as Barcelona must offload non-EU player

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Manchester United look set to complete the transfer of Yerry Mina from Barcelona, according to the Mirror.

The Reds have been unable to lure England World Cup star Harry Maguire away from Leicester City and Tottenham have proved to be tough negotiators over the proposed transfer of Toby Alderweireld.

Instead, United have turned to Mina who is available for a cut-price £30 million after Barcelona reduced the transfer fee for the centre-back from £44 million.

The 23-year-old arrived at the Camp Nou just six months ago but the Catalans must offload a non-EU player to meet La Liga squad regulations and the Colombian international is on the chopping block.

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Vrsaljko transfer flip is latest sign that Atletico Madrid are Europe's market masters

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Another day brings another piece of outstanding business from Atletico Madrid.

Out went excellent Croatia right-back Sime Vrsaljko on Wednesday, “happy” to be back in Italy, for an initial loan to Internazionale of which a total permanent package will cost €25 million (Dh107.3m). In comes €13m (Dh55.8m) replacement Santiago Arias, fresh off a solid World Cup 2018 with Colombia and a third Eredivisie title in the last four seasons with PSV Eindhoven.

The 26-year-old is just the latest moving part brought into the flexible Los Rojiblancos machine. It is one where the names often change, but achievements keeps coming.

Previously in this pre-season, France winger Thomas Lemar was wrenched from Monaco for €60m (Dh257.5m) – approximately €40m (Dh171.6m) less than the fee Arsenal agreed upon prior to last summer’s aborted deadline day arrangement.

The disorder at Sporting Lisbon has seen promising Portugal winger Gelson Martins acquired on a free (subject to a tribunal). Youth product Rodri was allowed to grow into a Spain midfielder at Villarreal and repurchased for €20m (Dh85.8m).

Stockpiling promising talent is the name of the game. Few in Europe do it better.

Even summer 2017’s transfer ban, upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, for breaching FIFA rules over the signing of minors was successfully navigated. Deals for Spain striker Diego Costa and winger Vitolo were tied up in advance, with the season’s end bringing the Europa League.

Among the outgoings, club legend Fernando Torres was phased out prior to a denouement in Japan with Sagan Tosu.

Veteran skipper Gabi has also gone to Asia, with Qatar’s Al Sadd. In preparation, Rodri has come back and Ghana’s Thomas Partey made 33 La Liga appearances last term – the most of his career.

It is this union between head coach Diego Simeone, coveted sporting director Andrea Berta and long-serving president Enrique Cerezo that puts most peers to shame.

From the chaos of the past under controversial – to put it mildly – previous figurehead Jesus Gil has come a laser focus.

It is an approach without the peaks and troughs experienced at Chelsea. Nor the initial splurge and contrasting frugality of Monaco, or the scattergun styling of rudderless Manchester United.

No mammoth television deals prop them up, unlike at La Liga rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid. There is no benefactor like at Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain.

Since 2013 and Berta’s arrival from Genoa, the total net spend – including the prospective Vrsaljko sale – amounts to an estimated €176.1m (Dh755.6m).

In this period, they became the first non-Clasico side in a decade to win La Liga and also won the 2014 Supercopa de Espana.

They have been beaten in two Champions League finals and lifted the Europa once.

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Costa has been sold and bought back from Chelsea. France superstar Antoine Griezmann has been twice convinced to stay, despite the advances of the world’s grandees.

Uruguay centre-back Jose Gimenez has blossomed since a €900,000 (Dh3.9m) switch from Danubio. Alongside him, academy products Saul Niguez and Koke have cemented spots among the continent’s elite midfielders.

Barca with Lionel Messi and Real Madrid Cristiano Ronaldo have boasted attacking threats without compare in this period, plus annual budgets hundreds of millions of euros greater.

Under Simeone, Atleti have averaged 82.6 points in La Liga since 2013/14. The proximity to Barca’s figure of 91 and Madrid’s of 87.6 is remarkable, considering the structural disadvantages at play.

And all the time while helping to part-fund the glistening, 67,703-capacity Wanda Metropolitano. Moving home and maintaining position at the top table certainly eluded the likes of Arsenal during their fractious switch to Emirates Stadium.

This is a juggling act that engenders both envy and respect.

The systemic unfairness within European club football forces lateral thinking to gain success.

In this regard, Atleti continue to show they are the true masters of the market.

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