Luka Modric has enjoyed a splendid 2018, winning the Champions League and leading his country to the World Cup final, but his career could have been so different.
Modric first appeared on English soil back in 2008, as Tottenham snapped up the then 22-year-old for £15.8m. He spent four successful seasons at White Hart Lane.
That was the same summer that Manchester City were taken over by Sheikh Mansour and produced a stunning bit of transfer business to snap up Robinho on the final day, yet the summer started on a different note.
Prior to the takeover, Thaksin Shinawatra’s assets had been frozen in his native Thailand, leaving City in the lurch and not knowing what to expect.
That uncertainty coincided with a deal for City to buy Modric from Dinamo Zagreb for just £10m, which fell through due to Shinawatra’s money being unaccessible, City life president Bernard Halford has revealed.
So rather than joining City’s revolution, Modric moved to north London – not that his career has been any less successful as a result.
“When Dr Shinawatra was here we could have signed Modric,” Halford told the Mail.
“Shinawatra was very excited – he had come to me to say we were about to make a big signing, one of the best players in the world, and that’s who it was.
“Charlie Corluka had lined it up for Modric to come to us, but when the money was needed, Shinawatra’s money was frozen in Thailand.
“He came to me on the first day of the season to say he had to resign, so we didn’t get Modric.
“It would have been for around £10million – and now he’s in for the Ballon d’Or.”