Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp revealed Luka Modric pleaded not to be selected before the 5-1 defeat to Manchester City at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Redknapp believes the Croatian is being advised to do everything he can to engineer a move to Chelsea.
Modric has been at the centre of a summer-long transfer tussle between his current employers and Chelsea, who have had two bids for the player turned down over the last two months.
on Sunday morning it was reported the Blues were ready to mount one last £40million bid for the playmaker before the transfer window closes on Wednesday night.
Modric missed Monday night's defeat to Manchester United because he was not "right in the head", according to Redknapp, but the 64-year-old gave his star playmaker the okay after he came through training fine this week.
Modric started and came through 65 minutes, but only after Redknapp convinced him he had to play.
Redknapp said: "Luka came to me at 11.30 this morning and said to me, 'I don't feel my head is right today'. I said, 'I feel you need to play today, Luka. I need you to play. You need to come and play'.
"I told him we had injuries and I said, 'I need you to come and play. We need you on the pitch, get out and play'.
"I told him he was our main man."
The Tottenham boss is convinced the former Dinamo Zagreb player must have been advised to say he was not up to playing in order to try to force through a move to Stamford Bridge.
"I'm sure he is getting advised to maybe not play today. We have seen it with other clubs," Redknapp added.
"He was okay yesterday morning to play and obviously something happened last night. Who knows what went on.
"Some of the papers today were saying that they are ready to make a £40million offer.
"While he still sees a chink of light to go to Chelsea, he is probably doing what maybe people are telling him the best way of getting out of here is."
Redknapp is still convinced that Modric will stay at the club, but concedes the whole saga, and transfer speculation over the future of his other players, has cast a dark cloud over the club's start to the season.
"There has been a feeling around the place that the place hasn't been right since the start of pre-season," Redknapp added.
"It has been a bit of a difficult period really.
"When people want to go it can be a problem but hopefully in another day or two when the window closes he will still be here and we'll all move on.
"I don't think he's going to go. The chairman said he isn't. When he comes back from international duty the window will be closed."
Edin Dzeko believes there is much more to come from Manchester City.
The former Wolfsburg striker scored four times as he and debutant Samir Nasri helped put Spurs to the sword with a ruthless display of attacking football.
Nasri supplied the crosses for Dzeko to score his first two goals and he also played his part in the run up to Sergio Aguero's strike, which made it 4-0 with half an hour to go.
Younes Kaboul headed home a consolation goal for Tottenham, but the afternoon belonged to Dzeko, who clinched his hat-trick with the last kick of the match.
"I think the last time I scored four was for Wolfsburg in Germany," the Bosnia international said on ESPN.
"Today was something special for me, to score four goals in the Premier League is fantastic.
"I think we're getting better and better. I hope we can improve in the next game and try to win every game."
Nasri added: "This is a tough place to win. I had a good game but the most important thing is we won 5-1 and sent out a signal to other clubs.
"This is just start of the season, it's important to keep our confidence, but I'm convinced we have a great team here and can win things."
City manager Roberto Mancini admits today's rout will have raised expectations amongst the fans, but was quick to remind them the season has only just begun.
"We played a really good game against what is a fantastic team," he said.
"I was always sure Dzeko would score a lot of goals for us, he always scored in Wolfsburg.
"The only thing I'm disappointed with is that we conceded. I think we need to pay more attention in this situation.
"This is a very long season and it's important that we started well. The next games will be very hard because now everyone thinks we will score three or four goals, but that is impossible."