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Tottenham in swoop for Croatian Modric

  • Story Highlights
  • Tottenham win the race to sign highly-rated Croatian midfielder Luka Modric
  • The Premier League club are believed to be paying Dinamo Zagreb 20m euros
  • Modric, 22, has been linked with a host of top European clubs in the last year
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LONDON, England -- Tottenham have won the race to sign highly-rated Croatia midfielder Luka Modric for a fee believed to be in the region of £15.8 million (20 million euros).

Tottenham have won the race to sign Croatian Modric, one of European football's most coveted talents.

The English Premier League club have agreed personal terms with the 22-year-old, who was courted by many of Europe's top sides, and he will leave Dinamo Zagreb for White Hart Lane this summer subject to him passing a medical.

Modric must also obtain a work permit but that will be a formality given his status as one of the continent's most coveted talents.

"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 semifinals 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."

After making his name in the Bosnian league as a teenager, Modric moved to Croatian club Inter Zapresic before joining 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.

His silky, two-footed passing caught the eye in both the England clashes and reports linked him with possible transfers to the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and, most recently, Newcastle.

On Tuesday, Modric was reported to have been at Newcastle to discuss a move to St James' Park and visit the club's training ground.

And Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan, speaking this week, made no secret of his admiration for a playmaker who was also thought to have been a target of Barcelona.

"If you had a list of the midfield players around Europe who Newcastle could possibly attract, Luka Modric would be one of them," said Keegan.

"I think he would be pretty much on everyone else's list as well because he is a fantastic prospect. If you look at the midfield players who have a fantastic future, he would be one of them. But every other club in the league, from Arsenal and Manchester United, would like Modric."

The signing of Modric is a major coup for Tottenham manager Juande Ramos and the club's hierarchy, who needed to make a statement of intent after a hugely frustrating season for the north London club.

Spurs were widely tipped to break the stranglehold of the big four before the current season began -- most likely at the expense of bitter rivals Arsenal -- but under former manager 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 Carling Cup triumph which has guaranteed European football for next season.

However, Tottenham's season appears to be fizzling out disappointingly with just a single win in their last seven league games, and an overhaul of the squad is predicted for this summer.

Any discontent among fans at the team's stuttering form is sure to be alleviated by the arrival of Modric who appears certain to be one of several new arrivals at White Hart Lane. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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