Transfer Talk: Big-spending Saudis set sights on Modric
Luka Modric is the latest Real Madrid icon to be courted by Saudi Arabia's big-spending Pro League.
Karim Benzema followed his former Los Blancos team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo to the Middle East this week and the French ace is unlikely to be the last superstar to make the switch this summer.
There are conflicting reports over the future of Modric, 37, who is known to be on the wish lists of several clubs within the Gulf state.
We take a closer look at the Croatian's conundrum.
Modric has little left to achieve at the top of the game.
A Ballon d'Or winner with five Champions League crowns, three LaLiga titles and countless other domestic and individual accolades, few can rival his trophy cabinet.
Having also captained his nation to their first World Cup final, the legendary playmaker has earned the right to finish his career however he wishes.
In a similar vein to Benzema, Madrid do not want to see their No10 depart but would equally not stand in his way if he expressed a strong desire to do so.
On the list
Saudi outfit Al-Nassr's capture of Ronaldo appeared to be a one-off PR stunt — but now it is clear that it was the first step of a grander vision.
The country's Pro League is making a concerted effort to acquire as many of the game's global superstars as possible, with Benzema's move to Al-Ittihad another feather in their cap.
News agency AFP have claimed this week that the likes of N'Golo Kante, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sergio Ramos and and Modric could all soon follow.
It is thought that an unnamed club have tabled a three-year deal for the ex-Tottenham maestro worth over £100million.
With his current contract at the Bernabeu about to expire, Modric is free to negotiate with interested parties — or so it appears.
Reports in Croatia in recent days have claimed that the 164-cap international has already signed a one-year extension in the Spanish capital, keeping him with Los Blancos through to June 2024.
That would mirror the midfielder's most recent comments about his future, given after last month's Copa del Rey triumph over Osasuna.
He said: "The idea is to continue at Madrid but we'll have to see what happens. This club is my whole life. Real Madrid is my whole life."
If an agreement has been reached, it is unclear when that information will be made public.
Nothing ruled out
Even if a Saudi switch does not materialise this summer, there is nothing to say it could not happen further down the line.
Modric's sedate playing style means that a decline in his physical fitness is unlikely to impact when he hangs up his boots.
Should he have the hunger to do so, playing for several more years is viable and it may be that the veteran is not ready to step away from elite European football just yet.
With the departure of club captain Benzema having caught boss Carlo Ancelotti by surprise, the loss of another senior figure in quick succession would be far from ideal.
One more year in Madrid may be the best solution for all parties.