Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has revealed Chelsea target Luka Modric requested not to play in Sunday’s humiliation at home to Manchester City.
Modric remained largely anonymous as Spurs were thrashed 5-1 by City at White Hart Lane, with Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko netting four times and Sergio Aguero also getting on the scoresheet for Roberto Mancini’s men.
After the match, Redknapp revealed the Croatian midfielder had approached him two hours before kick-off to ask not to be selected, as speculation persists that Chelsea are preparing a final £40 million bid to sign him.
“His head’s not right again,” the Spurs boss told reporters.
“He came to see me at 12pm, probably 11.30am, and he told me he didn’t feel his head was right. I told him he needed to play. I had injuries in midfield. He’s our main man.
“His head’s been turned. It’s probably been turned again Saturday night. We all know what goes on in the game.
“Anyone who thinks he’s not being told what’s going on is dreaming. Something happened. I don’t know what. He was OK to play Saturday morning.”
Redknapp believes Modric has been told by his representatives to do whatever it takes to secure a move to Stamford Bridge before the transfer window closes on Wednesday.
“He’s getting advised maybe not to play,” he added. “We’ve seen it before. Someone’s in his ear. That’s how this game works, isn’t it?
“I think, at the moment, while he still sees a chink of light to go to Chelsea, he’s probably doing what he’s being told the best idea to get to Chelsea is.
“The chairman has said he’s not for sale. Once the window’s shut, he’s here, isn’t he?”
Several of Spurs’ big names, including Modric, Wilson Palacios and Peter Crouch, have been linked with the exit door this summer, and Redknapp admits the constant speculation has had a catastrophic effect on dressing room morale.
“I feel we’ve had a terrible pre-season,” he continued. “There’s been a feeling round the place. It’s not been right.
"People going, people wanting to go. Crouchy to Stoke in the papers every day, and we have to play him. He thinks, 'do they want me?’ I don’t know where that’s come from. It’s all been a bit unsettling.
“The place needs a little bit of a lift now, and I’ve told that to the chairman. I feel we have to freshen the place up a bit.”