Alan Hansen believes retaining Luka Modric during the summer was the defining moment in Tottenham Hotspur's season and subsequently brilliant Premier League form.

Widely regarded as the most eye-catching and entertaining side in the division, Tottenham have defied their poor start to the season, when back-to-back defeats to Manchester United and Manchester City suggested it could be a long hard season for Harry Redknapp, by mounting a sustained challenge on the title.

The aforementioned Match of the Day pundit believes Tottenham's season and entire foundation could have been undermined had Redknapp and perhaps more importantly Daniel Levy, had accepted numerous bids for their star playmaker Modric. The Croatian international publicly admitted his desire to move to Chelsea, but having remained, the pint-sized playmaker has been instrumental ever since.

"If they (Tottenham) had sold Modric to Chelsea in August, then Tottenham would basically have been saying they are a selling club and that everybody can come and get their best players." Hansen told the BBC.

"But Redknapp and Spurs chairman Daniel Levy dug their heels in and said he was not for sale, and I think that was the defining moment for what has turned into a hugely impressive campaign."

While keen to champion the resolve of Tottenham's chairman and manager, Hansen believes Modric's professionalism also deserves praise.

Hansen believes Modric could easily have sulked or endeavoured to engineer his escape from Tottenham, but having been denied a move across London, he accepted the decision and got his head down.

"You also need to give Modric some credit in this, because he wanted to move to Chelsea when they came in for him and, in the modern game, when a player wants to go somewhere then, 99 times out of 100, they go." Hansen continued.

"A lot of players in his situation would have sulked and let it affect their performances but Modric has been terrific. He might still leave in the summer, but what he has done is give his best shot for Tottenham this season, which is tremendous to see."

Modric was once again the focal point during Tottenham's impressive 2-0 victory over Everton on Wednesday night, and on Thursday Toffees' skipper Phil Neville paid tribute to the White Hart Lane talisman via his personal Twitter page.

When discussing Tottenham's chances of winning the Premier League, Neville said: "Keeping Modric was essential, best central midfielder in prem I've played against this season."

Tottenham are currently in second place in the Premier League, level on points with Manchester United and three behind Manchester City.