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Spurs dig in for battle to keep Modric

Tottenham Hotspur are digging in for a battle to keep Croatian midfielder Luka Modric after he was quoted...

Adidas new SPEEDCELL soccer ball will be used in the 2010 Telkom Knockout Final for the first time in South Africa. Picture: Supplied

Tottenham Hotspur are digging in for a battle to keep Croatian midfielder Luka Modric after he was quoted on Saturday as saying he wanted to leave the Premier League club for their London rivals Chelsea.

Modric, who signed a new six-year-deal last year, was not for sale "at any price", Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said on the club's website (www.tottenhamhotspur.com).

"In respect of Luka Modric, we are not prepared to sell at any price, to Chelsea Football Club or any other club.

"We made our stance on this issue abundantly clear in writing to Chelsea," he added. "They chose to ignore it then made the offer public."

"For the avoidance of any doubt let me reiterate that we shall not enter into any negotiations whatsoever with any club regarding Luka. We now consider the matter closed."

Spurs released the statement after the 25-year-old midfielder, who has not submitted a formal transfer request, told the Daily Mail newspaper he wanted to leave Spurs but would like to stay in London.

"Chelsea are a big club with an ambitious owner," he said. "They have great players and they have ambitions to fight for the title and win the Champions League.

"I want to leave Tottenham as friends. I have enjoyed my time there, but now it is right for me to look at another club.

"I have an arrangement with the chairman. When I signed my new contract, he said that, if another club came to sign me, they would consider the offer.

"This is not about money, it is about ambition. When I came to England I was dreaming about winning titles, that is still the same.

"Tottenham are a big club with good players and a good manager but I want to fight for the championship."

Modric's comments came two days after Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said Chelsea's initial reported bid of 22 million pounds for the player was "ridiculous".

"There are people being sold for 20 million pounds who are not fit to lace Luka's boots," added Redknapp, who has previously described Modric as "irreplaceable".

Modric has scored 12 goals in 120 appearances since joining Spurs for 16.5 million in 2008 from Dinamo Zagreb.