The transfer rumors have been swirling around Christian Eriksen for the better part of the season, after reports trickled out that contract negotiations broke down between Tottenham Hotspur and the Danish playmaker late in the summer. For a while, it’s been looking like Eriksen appeared headed for the exit door as he looks for better opportunities and a more lucrative payday.
But today, after Eriksen’s 25-yard winner helped send Spurs to a critical 1-0 home win over Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League, his manager, Mauricio Pochettino, seemed to imply that there may yet be some hope that Eriksen could end up committing the rest of his peak years to Tottenham.
“I think I was clear a few months ago. it is a very special situation, Christian is a special person, I think we are all special, different and we need to understand that. The timing for him or for the club to be agreeing something are maybe different to another player.
“I hope and I wish Christian can be with us in the future but I think Christian and us we are so open to talk and we will see what happens. I think it is so close the end of the season, there will be a lot of time to talk after and I think the most important now, not just for him, is for all the players to be focused and try to achieve the things we want. We have a lot of big things ahead and we need to be focused only to try and recover, train and compete.”
That’s not exactly “Christian loves it at Tottenham and expect a big announcement shortly,” but neither is it an acknowledgement that he wants to leave Spurs for Real Madrid. Like Toby Alderweireld, Eriksen has been a model professional this season even as the contract negotiations wore on and then (apparently) broke down for a while. Heck, just the implication that there may be further talks about Eriksen’s future after the season is helpful context, and this is coming from a man in Pochettino who rarely lets himself get caught up in speculation.
I don’t have anything really to base this opinion on other than supposition, but if I had to guess, I’d say that Eriksen is holding out to see if a move to one of the really, super rich clubs will show interest and make a move for him. A Real Madrid, Barcelona, or PSG would be able to make a transfer bid that would be close to Tottenham’s evaluation of him, and would also give him that one last giant pay increase that footballers like him want to get before their career starts to wind down.
But what if that big club offer doesn’t come? That, I think, is why Pochettino and Eriksen are so willing to kick the can down the road a bit. I don’t get the sense that Eriksen is unhappy at Spurs. To the contrary, it seems like he’s enjoying his football and his time in North London a great deal, and if he can’t get the contract he wants from a top, top club then my guess is he’d be happy to extend his time in North London.
You can certainly make the argument that regardless of Eriksen’s feelings on the matter this summer would be a good time to cash in on his value and reinvest the fee into a new generation of players. He’s probably never going to command a higher fee than he is this summer. There’s a number of reasons why selling him now would be a good idea, including the idea that with Spurs ostensibly in a period of austerity, a big transfer fee could be well used to patch big holes in the squad.
But Eriksen is also integral to the way Spurs play, and he’s been a phenomenal servant to the club. That’s why I think it comes down to what Christian wants to do, and whether there’s substantial interest from other clubs for him this summer.
I would be thrilled if Eriksen stayed. Conversely, I would be sad if he left, but excited to see what Spurs could do with his transfer fee and a host of young, exciting talent available this summer. Either way, I hope that there will be an excellent player at Eriksen’s position heading into the 2019-20 season.