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Tottenham win race to sign Croatian Modric

26 April 2008 11:36

LONDON (AFP) - Dinamo Zagreb's Croatia midfield star Luka Modric is heading for Tottenham next season after agreeing a five-year-old deal with the Premier League side, both clubs confirmed on Saturday.

The League Cup winners have agreed personal terms with the player and he will arrive in the summer, subject to passing a medical.

Modric must also obtain a work permit but that should be a formality as he is a regular in the Croatia national team.

"I'm happy to be joining such a big club," Modric told a press conference in Zagreb. "It will be a real pleasure to play in the English league which is the best in Europe, with three English clubs in the semi-finals of the Champions League."

Dinamo Zagreb sporting director Zoran Mamic added: "Tottenham's president came to Zagreb. We signed the agreement and everything is in order.

"We're very happy. Luka is leaving for an environment where he's going to progress, while Dinamo showed that we know how to do good deals."

Croatian daily newspaper Jutarnji List reported the deal was worth 26 million euros (40m dollars), a record for a Croatian player. Reports in the British press put the sum at 15.8 million pounds (20m euros, 31.3m dollars).

Jutarnji List said Modric would be presented before the public at White Hart Lane on Saturday ahead of their match against Bolton.

The 22-year-old, who was reportedly targeted by many of Europe's top sides, made his name in the Bosnian league as a teenager before moving to Croatian club Inter Zapresic followed by Dinamo in 2005.

He made his debut for Croatia a year later and has gone on to win more than 20 caps for Slaven Bilic's side - including the home and away victories over England that cost them their place at Euro 2008.

He had been linked with possible transfers to the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and, most recently, Newcastle.

Spurs manager Juande Ramos will be hoping that the signing will set the tone for his intentions next season after a hugely frustrating campaign for the north London club.

Spurs were widely tipped to break the stranglehold of the big four before the current season began but under former boss Martin Jol they made a disastrous start to fall way off the pace for even a UEFA Cup spot.

Since his arrival in October, Ramos has overseen a major improvement in fortunes, including a League Cup triumph which has guaranteed European football for next season.

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