Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is ready for another battle with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy over Luka Modric. The pair have locked horns in the past over United deals for Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Carrick.

The Manchester Evening News says Ferguson's incredulous response to Spurs' £32m valuation will have been expected in North London.

And if recent history is anything to go by, United will have to come close to that asking price if they are to land their top target.

Levy has proved himself a fierce negotiator, as well as pragmatist.

Pragmatic because he has accepted in the past that Spurs struggle to keep hold of their major stars when the biggest clubs come calling.

But that hasn't stopped him from driving up the price to ensure his club isn't run roughshod over when it comes to sitting down around the negotiating table.