By Greg Stobart
Tottenham have turned down the prospect of Real Madrid including Nuri Sahin or Ricardo Carvalho in any attempted offer for Luka Modric as the north Londoners hold out for a straight cash deal worth around €51 million (£40m).
The Spanish giants are struggling to meet Spurs' valuation of Modric and had hoped to pursue a player-plus-cash move in an attempt to trim their squad.
Sources at White Hart Lane have denied suggestions that a deal has already been struck for Modric to move to the Santiago Bernabeu, although negotiations are ongoing, with Real Madrid believed to have significantly improved their previous offer of €39.5m (£31m).
Spurs are adamant they will not be bullied into selling their star midfielder, who was fined heavily in July for refusing to train and failing to take part in the squad's pre-season tour of the United States.
One factor for the Londoners has been the difficulty in lining up a direct replacement for the playmaker. Joao Moutinho is the top target but Porto want €38m (£30m) for the Portuguese midfielder, while Spurs coach Andre Villas-Boas rejected the idea of a move for Sahin as he believes the Turk would struggle to adapt to the pace of the Premier League.
Tottenham have not completely ruled out a future move for Arsenal target Sahin - perhaps on a season-long loan - but they have no interest in Carvalho, who was omitted from Real Madrid's own pre-season tour of the United States.
"Spurs don't want to consider a player swap as Villas-Boas knows the players he wants to reinvest the money in," an insider told Goal.com. "Carvalho and Sahin are the two that have been mentioned but he's not interested at the moment. He thinks Sahin could struggle with the pace of English football and would rather go all out for Moutinho."
Madrid's pursuit of Modric has been further complicated by the willingness of Paris Saint-Germain to pay €51m for the Croatia international, and Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will not lower his demands.
The 26-year-old, who cost Spurs €23m (£16.5m) in 2008, has his heart set on a switch to Los Blancos, but PSG could emerge as his only escape route from White Hart Lane, especially with the north London club unwilling to sell him to a Premier League rival.
He has four years left on his Spurs contract but is understood to have agreed a deal worth around €152,000- (£120,000)-a-week to join Jose Mourinho’s side as they look to retain their Liga title.
While all parties eventually expect to strike a deal, Modric's future will become clearer after the Tottenham squad return from the United States on Wednesday.