Tottenham Hotspur are in the final stages of preparation for their match tomorrow against West Ham United. Even with the club just a result or two away from qualification to the Champions League for a fourth consecutive season, it isn’t going to pull attention away from the myriad of transfer rumors that always latch onto the club.
I wrote earlier in the week about Real Madrid’s interest in Christian Eriksen possibly dropping, due to their targets now being Eden Hazard of Chelsea and Manchester United’s Paul Pogba. This doesn’t eliminate Eriksen from a possible move to Spain, but it gives Spurs hope that they may not have to sell him after all, even though he would command a hefty fee.
Well, we got to enjoy those happy feelings for about 48 hours because our old friend Dank P has told everyone via the Evening Standard that Manchester United have eyes for our Great Dane and see him as the primary piece of the puzzle in rebuilding the squad on the red side of Manchester. Kilpatrick is a very reputable source and one of those “slam dunk” journalists that, if he is writing about it, chances are good that it’s legitimate.
United’s interest in Eriksen dates to Louis van Gaal’s reign and they are preparing to rival Real Madrid for his signature in the summer.
Both United and Real are aware of the difficulty in negotiating with Daniel Levy but have been encouraged by Eriksen’s reluctance to sign a new contract. The Denmark playmaker has a little over a year remaining on his current £70,000-a-week deal and has stalled on agreeing a new contract, which would more than double his salary.
Side note, remember when we were all disappointed that Louis van Gaal decided to go to United instead of us? Talk about a bullet dodged!
So this is nothing new. Manchester United have always wanted Eriksen, even going back to his days at Ajax. The problem at the time was that United were coming off an EPL title and felt that Eriksen maybe wasn’t at the level required to be a regular for the Red Devils. Now, several years later, he’s one of the best midfielders in the world and they know that dealing with Daniel Levy is not going to be fun.
Levy would prefer to sell Eriksen to Real rather than strengthen a direct rival and it is unclear if the Dane would be open to a move to United, who could comfortably treble his current salary but are outsiders to qualify for next season’s Champions League. The situation is complicated by Real’s reported interest in United’s Paul Pogba.
This is a pretty key point. Manchester United are on the outside looking in for the top 4 and are almost certainly going to end up in Europa League unless they get some results in these last three matches. Their match against Chelsea Sunday isn’t quite an elimination match but losing to Chelsea and Arsenal getting a result against Leicester would put them on life support.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid are going to be in the Champions League next year and will spend the GDP of a small nation to rebuild their own squad. £100m for Paul Pogba is a drop in the bucket for them and Manchester United will want to turn that cash into a player they can build around. Eriksen is a player that fits the bill, but several writers in the English media have also reminded everyone that Manchester United absolutely hate dealing with Daniel Levy, going all the way back to the transfer of Dimitar Berbatov. Sir Alex Ferguson detailed that experience well, and here’s a refresher:
“Then Levy came back to us and said he needed Frazier Campbell, one of our young strikers, as part of the deal. [Chief executive] David Gill demurred, so Levy then upped Berbatov’s transfer fee a little. Finally, in order to get the deal over the line, and to add insult to injury, we sent Campbell on loan to White Hart Lane and paid the increased fee. We were up until midnight signing and faxing papers to make sure all the paperwork went through before the deadline expired. That whole experience was more painful than my hip replacement.”
We can all criticize Daniel Levy for his hardline negotiations that might have cost Spurs bringing in players, but there’s no man I’d rather have at the helm when it comes to maximizing a transfer fee for a player being sold. It’s been ten years since that transfer, and Manchester United surely haven’t forgotten about this.
So let’s look at this logically with Christian Eriksen. There are four possible scenarios that occur and I’ll order them from most to least likely:
1) Levy uses United’s interest to jack up the fee. Real Madrid purchase Christian Eriksen anyways.
2) Christian Eriksen re-signs with Tottenham Hotspur.
3) Another team from the continent swoop in and make an offer Levy can’t refuse.
4) Hell freezes over. Manchester United purchase Christian Eriksen.
The bottom line is that Daniel Levy refuses to sell to a rival, and Manchester United 100% fit the bill. This is a club that has lost some of its luster in the past few seasons and they are desperate to get back to the top of the mountain. Levy knows this and has his own business to handle to get Spurs over the hump to start winning trophies now that the stadium project is complete.
We’ll have to see how this progresses now that United are officially in the hunt for Eriksen. One thing we can all count on, though: Expect more twists in this saga before it comes to an end.