For months now we’ve been speculating about the future of Christian Eriksen at Tottenham Hotspur. Eriksen refused to sign a contract extension, causing suggestions that he has been open to leaving Spurs for one of European football’s biggest clubs should an offer come in. He’s also been extremely professional about the situation, choosing to stay quiet and operate through his agent, Martin Schoots, rather than speak openly about his desires.
That silence has now been broken. Eriksen admitted openly in Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet that he’s ready for a “new challenge” and has told Tottenham officials that he would like to move to a bigger club if a good offer comes in.
“I feel that I am a place in my career where I might want to try something new. I have the wildest and deepest respect for everything that has happened in Tottenham, nor will it be negative. But I have also said that I would like to try something new.
“I hope there will be a clarification during the summer. That’s the plan. In football you do not know when a clarification comes. It can happen anytime. Everyone wants it best if it happens as soon as possible, but in football takes things time.”
To be fair, this isn’t anything that we haven’t already known, or suspected, for a while now. Eriksen has admitted in the past that he has a “secret plan” for his career, and while he has been one of the best players at Tottenham Hotspur, there’s been the sense that for whatever reason he has flown under the radars of the biggest clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG, and Bayern Munich for several years now.
But with Spurs’ star ascending, so too has Eriksen’s. He’s 27 now, at the very peak of his career, and there’s no shame in wanting “a new challenge” as he calls it before his body starts to decline. There’s also the promise of a huge payday, something that he knows he won’t get at Spurs.
Dan Kilpatrick of the Evening Standard reported that Eriksen met with club officials ahead of the Champions League final to tell them of his decision.
#thfc Understand Eriksen met Spurs 10 days before CL Final to tell them the situation, so this won't have come out of the blue. Levy & Florentino Perez met at Uefa dinner in Madrid on Friday, when this is sure to have come up. https://t.co/mv88szurra— Dan Kilpatrick (@Dan_KP) June 5, 2019
However, there’s the chance that Eriksen could stay at Spurs, if another club of his choosing decides not to come in with a bid.
“It depends on Daniel Levy. And another club has to come in. Or I have to sit down at the table and negotiate a new contract. You can’t set a date yourself.”
”There are not many points that Tottenham cannot meet. If I have to go, then hopefully it will be a step up.
”[Real Madrid] is a step up. But it requires Real Madrid to call Tottenham and say they want me. And they have not done so yet, as far as I know.
“It is hard. It depends on the possibilities. If nothing pops up that is more exciting, why not stay in Tottenham? If I then sign a new contract, depends on the conditions.”
Real Madrid has been the club most closely linked with a move for Eriksen, but it’s not a done deal that they would. They have already signed Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic for €65m, Porto centerback Eder for €50m, and winger Rodrygo for €45m, they are almost certainly buying Chelsea’s Eden Hazard in a deal worth more than €100m, and are strongly linked with Manchester United’s Paul Pogba and Lyon’s Ferland Mendy, whom they consider top targets. Eriksen is entering into the last year of his contract, and is likely to command a fee somewhere between £60-90m. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Madrid could pass on Eriksen.
It does, however, explain the sudden interest in Real Betis playmaker Giovani Lo Celso, who Spurs are negotiating for. The early pushes for Lo Celso and Lyon’s Tanguy Ndombele suggest that Spurs might be pre-purchasing players with the proceeds to come from Eriksen’s sale.
Nobody wants Eriksen to leave. If you’re the hopeful type, there are still reasons to be optimistic that he could take the pitch in a Tottenham shirt next season. But if he does want to leave, this would be an opportune time for Spurs to let him go. Mauricio Pochettino has talked about starting a “new chapter” and hinting at a “painful rebuild.” We know he wants to refresh the squad after taking this year’s team to the Champions League final. Losing Eriksen would indeed be painful, but would provide the opportunity to bring in new blood into the team. And letting him go would be one way that Spurs could thank him for his years of service to the club, which has been without reservation exemplary.