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Chelsea boss Grant sounds out Modric

Chelsea boss Avram Grant will compete for Dinamo Zagreb star Luka Modric in the summer.

The Times says it is understood that Chelsea made a late bid to sign Modric during the final days of the transfer window last month, but were deterred by Dinamo's asking price of £20 million.

Chelsea value Modric at less than half that and are confident of completing his signing at the second attempt because his value will diminish drastically in 12 months' time because of the so-called Webster ruling, which enables players under the age of 28 to buy their way out of the remainder of their contracts when they enter their fourth year.

Modric took the extraordinary step of signing a ten-year contract at Zagreb in December 2005, which has inflated his value to enable the club to keep hold of him in the short term but not much longer. Under the terms of Fifa article 17, first exploited by Andy Webster, the Rangers defender, Modric will be able to buy himself out of his contract for as little as £1.5 million during next January's transfer window, giving Zagreb little option but to cash in or risk losing as much as £10 million this summer.

Chelsea have not made contact with Modric, but it is understood that he has been sounded out by an intermediary, believed to be Giovanni Rosso, a former Croatia midfield player at Maccabi Haifa who knows Grant well after spending the past ten years of his career in Israel.

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