Manchester United have paved the way for Real Madrid to sign Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Luka Modric, according to

The Croatian has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford after Spurs' failure to qualify for the Champions League, despite finishing fourth in the Premier League.

Modric handed in a transfer request at Spurs last summer, in order to force a move through to London rivals Chelsea, however he stayed on with a Tottenham side who briefly flirted with a Premier League title challenge before finishing behind third place Arsenal.

Luka Modric
Modric has been linked with Manchester United.

The 26 year old produced a series of sterling showing for Tottenham last season, but without Champions league football next season for a second successive year, Modric wants to move on.

"Here I am no longer able to fulfil my dream," Modric told Marca. "I'm going to play in the Champions League - I want to win this competition."

United have reportedly led the race for Modric, while Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic has urged the Croatia international to move to Chelsea after missing out on the playmaker last summer.

However, after signing Shinji Kagawa and seeing the asking price of Spurs chairman Daniel Levy for Modric exceed £40m, United are likely to step aside.

With tight restraints surrounding United's transfer budget, amid the mountainous debt at the 12-time Premier League champions, the club are likely to pass on Modric, with Real Madrid leading the race.

After claiming the La Liga title last season, manager Jose Mourinho is looking to continue Madrid's dominance by bringing in Modric to complement the club's existing creative players Mesut Ozil, Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Modric's acute passing game and creative brain would suit the La Liga champions, who are looking to match the passing game of their great rivals Barcelona, who under Tito Vilanova will be aiming to reclaim domestic supremacy.