Real Madrid have agreed to sign Croatia playmaker Luka Modric from Tottenham Hotspur on a five-year contract as the stuttering Spanish champions look to tap into his guile and creativity to get their season back on track.
"Real Madrid CF and Tottenham Hotspur have reached an agreement for the transfer of the player Luka Modric, who will remain tied to the club for the next five seasons," Real said on their website (www.realmadrid.com) on Monday.
Tottenham, who also confirmed the deal on their site (www.tottenhamhotspur.com), said it was subject to a medical and included a partnership agreement for the two clubs to work together "in respect of players, coaching, best practices and commercial relationships".
While neither club gave financial details, Spanish media reported Real would pay 35 million euros ($43.81 million), plus a possible seven million in add-ons, for Modric, who joined Spurs from Dinamo Zagreb in 2008.
The 26-year-old's arrival in the Spanish capital may help Real put a poor start to the season behind them, during which they have taken one point from two La Liga outings and lost Thursday's first leg of the Spanish Super Cup 3-2 at Barcelona.
They crashed to a shock 2-1 defeat at city rivals Getafe on Sunday, which prompted a rare burst of public criticism of his underperforming players from coach Jose Mourinho.
Real have a chance to get their season back on track in Wednesday's Super Cup return leg at the Bernabeu when Modric, who will be presented to the media later on Monday, could make his debut.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, who fought off bids from Chelsea and Manchester United for the fan favourite a year ago, said he was reluctant to let Modric leave.
Modric himself said last year he wanted to move to Chelsea but Levy blocked any deal with the club's London neighbours.
"Luka has been a terrific player for us and, while we preferred not to part with him, we are pleased that it is to Real Madrid, a club with which we now look forward to sharing a long and productive partnership," Levy said in a statement.
Modric joined Tottenham from Dinamo Zagreb in 2008 for £16.5 million and after initially playing as a defensive midfielder, became a key element in the club's resurgence under former manager Harry Redknapp.
After a poor start to the season under Juande Ramos, the Spaniard's replacement Redknapp deployed Modric as attacking midfielder and Spurs rapidly improved.
With Redknapp at the helm, Spurs enjoyed two top-four finishes and reached the Champions League for the first time in 2010 when Modric's deft touches and inspired vision set him apart.
In all, he played 160 times for Spurs, scoring 17 goals, and was the creative heart of the side, whose attacking, expansive style was widely regarded as being among the most attractive in the Premier League last season.
Despite finishing fourth last season, Spurs were deprived of a Champions League berth after sixth-placed Chelsea earned the right to defend their title when they became European champions in May.
With Spurs only able to offer the Croatian Europa League football, their chances of keeping Modric at White Hart Lane were diminished.
His move to Madrid could now spell the end of Kaka's stint at Real, the Brazilian playmaker who has failed to live up to expectations since arriving from AC Milan for around 65 million euros three years ago.
Milan wanted to take the 30-year-old back on loan, although Real were holding out for a sale, the Italian side's vice president Adriano Galliano said on Sunday.
Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters