Some argued about who had first broken the news that the deal was going through. Others wondered whether the club needed him at all, but now that he had signed, where he would play? Where does this leave Khedira, Ozil, Xabi Alonso and Lass? And what about Granero?
Others moaned that Cazorla had only cost €16m from Malaga, so shouldn’t they have gone for him instead? And then there were those who wanted to dredge up that photo of him holding a shirt with deep red and blue stripes and with his name in yellow letters across the back.
There was the usual fuss surrounding Luka Modric’s signing for Real Madrid that accompanies any deal at the club, especially when the transfer window is just days away from shutting, and all the more so when the fee is in the tens of millions of euros. In the end the currency was one stumbling block that delayed the deal between Tottenham and Real, the Londoners wanting the structured payments in pounds not in euros to avoid depreciation.
The fee could rise to a total of €42m, but is reported to be an initial €35m – even by Real Madrid’s elevated standards it is a significant deal, if not a record- breaking one. Modric is, after all, the club’s only summer signing, and one that Mourinho insisted on throughout the close season. The pressure is on, and all the more so because of the timing.
The transfer itself has been weeks in coming together – ‘it took too long’ Modric himself admitted in the Press conference, having been training alone in the weeks it took to agree the transfer. But when the wheels were set in motion for his move from one capital city to another, he probably did not anticipate joining up with the club in its current situation.
His Spanish is not yet up to answering questions, but if Modric picked up a newspaper on the way to the Bernabeu he will not have needed a translator to see the team 14th in the table. Nor would he have needed ‘inacceptable’ – as picked out by the subeditors for many of the front pages – to be explained to him. ‘Mourinho grabs his rifle’ may have been a bit much, but he probably had the idea by then.
Getafe’s 2-1 victory over Mourinho’s side on Sunday left the champions five points off Barcelona, albeit after just two games. Emilio Butragueno had to laugh off suggestions that the League defeat to Getafe was the reason that the club rushed through the signing.
For Modric, there are no sunny pre-season trips for friendlies and autograph sessions while he gets to know his teammates. Instead he is handed a crash course to life in Madrid, having to settle into a dressing room at odds with the Coach after being publicly blamed for their performance at the weekend, and knowing he represents competition for a place in the starting XI for many in that dressing room.
Mourinho will have to make a swift decision on whether Modric’s match fitness is up to him facing Barcelona on Wednesday. While the Portuguese Coach said the Super Cup was the least important trophy of all on offer before the first leg, losing to Barcelona again will have alarm bells ringing even louder.
There is another possible scenario here: Modric is ready to play, and immediately delivers on the promise of his addition to the team – bringing attacking solutions to a side that can struggle to break opponents down. The new star signing helps Real turn around a 3-2 deficit and land the first blow to the Catalans.
Those five points won’t loom so large with some early season silverware at Barcelona’s expense, at least for a few days. Barely hours after arriving in Madrid, Luka Modric will already have a clear idea of what to expect for the next five years.