Christian Eriksen wants to try something new. What that ‘new’ is exactly is a complete mystery.
Judging by his comments given in an interview to Danish magazine Ekstra Bladet, Real Madrid is his desired destination.
However, having just agreed a deal for the €100+million-rated Eden Hazard and signed Luka Jovic for €60 million, added to Eder Militao’s switch from Porto – setting them back €50 million in January – while talks are ongoing for the €50-million priced Ferland Mendy, it remains to be seen if Los Blancos are interested in him.
The 27-year-old Denmark midfielder has a year left on his current Tottenham deal and he said: “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, 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.”
He added: “There are not many points that Tottenham cannot meet. If I have to go, then hopefully it will be a step up.”
There are not too many clubs which can be considered a step up from Spurs, so who exactly might be in for Eriksen?
The obvious starting point. Zinedine Zidane has returned home and is busy refurnishing a dilapidated structure.
As mentioned, Jovic is already through the door and although talks with Chelsea over Hazard were thought to have collapsed, it now appears the Belgian will also be a Madrid player next season.
Militao reinforces the defensive foundations having agreed his transfer in January while Mendy solves the hole at left-back.
But how much more can Los Blancos president Florentino Perez really splurge considering this summer’s expenditure is already close to the €300m mark?
Add in the exponential costs surrounding the Bernabeu renovations and the sums already don’t add up, even if Eriksen is available for €70m.
Yet, Eriksen is the right fit. If Madrid are actually in the market for Paul Pogba, then the Dane, while older than the Frenchman, represents a cheaper, talented and a more logical acquisition.
One of Real’s biggest issues last season was their lack of creation from midfield – Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Isco, Casemiro and Dani Ceballos managed just 12 assists in La Liga between them.
Eriksen’s ability to make rapid transitions with the ball would help Real dismantle stubborn defensive blocks.
That same Madrid quartet managed only 12 goals in the league as well, contrasted to Eriksen’s output of eight strikes and 12 assists.
Barca have sniffed around Eriksen before but again, they’re in a similar position to Real Madrid with their bellies full on players already snapped up.
Only their Spanish rivals have a bigger wage bill in world football and so outgoings are necessary to make room for more.
Indeed, Frenkie de Jong’s €86m arrival plus the likelihood of his Ajax team-mate Matthijs de Ligt joining for a comparable fee, means Barca don’t have much financial flexibility.
Ivan Rakitic and Philippe Coutinho would have to be moved on, yet even in that scenario, Barca are still absolutely stacked in midfield.
De Jong, Sergio Busquets, Carles Alena, Arthur, Arturo Vidal and even the emerging Riqui Puig are all options for Ernesto Valverde.
Suitability wise, Eriksen is in the Barca mould because he carries the ball well and is efficient in possession. His goalscoring ability, particularly shots from distance, would add a new dimension to what is a limited attack sans Lionel Messi.
But despite past interest, the signing of De Jong pretty much kills this transfer right away.
Cash is spilling out of Bayern’s wallet and cascading across Europe for the first time in a long time.
The Bavarians have spent €115 million on the signings of Lucas Hernandez plus Benjamin Pavard and there’s more to come as they plot the biggest investment in their squad ever.
There’s a thread which runs through their business, though, and it means Eriksen might not be a pull for them. Bayern, while prepared to spend big, are busy hoovering up the best young talent in Europe.
Eriksen does not fit their strategy. It’s true they are in the market for an attacking midfielder having refused to take up an option to sign James Rodriguez on a permanent deal, but Bayer Leverkusen’s outstanding teenage playmaker Kai Havertz is firmly in their cross hairs.
The 19-year-old broke records last season, scoring 17 goals in the Bundesliga. His goal production is quite staggering and the frightening thing is, the Germany international still has areas of his game to refine.
Eriksen represents a more polished option, but age, wages, transfer fee and ceiling make Havertz the more enticing prospect.
Spain is a maybe, Germany’s ruled out, but what about Italy?
There’s been little talk of Juventus’ potential interest in Eriksen. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any, though.
While the Bianconeri usually attach themselves to shrewd free signings – Aaron Ramsey the latest such case – their financial muscle completely squashes the rest of Serie A and so they could be encouraged to examine Eriksen.
Their midfield does require a serious revamp. The defeat to Ajax in the Champions League was as much to do with their ponderous play in midfield than anything else.
Sami Khedira, Blaise Matuidi and Miralem Pjanic hardly scream mobility while younger alternatives Rodrigo Bentancur and Emre Can are works in progress.
Eriksen would immediately inject some vigour into what is a stale middle. League dominance is a given but the Champions League has humiliatingly escaped their grasp for 23 years.
The Dane could heal that pain. Paulo Dybala would represent an obvious clash for position, although his future at the club is ambiguous having struggled to adapt to the demanding role of playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.
And so Juve, if funds are available – Ramsey’s absurd contract points to that maybe being the case – then it’s in black and white that they should look at Eriksen.
This destination likely starts and ends with Financial Fair Play (FFP). In essence, PSG have the money, whether they can spend it is another question entirely.
Eriksen would surely be interested given they represent the “step up” he speaks of and regardless of their critics, PSG is a project many players would be seduced by.
On paper, they can afford his whole package but in reality there is literally no room to navigate through FFP after their enormous spends in recent seasons.
Thomas Tuchel desperately needs to freshen up his midfield as well. Adrien Rabiot is leaving on a free and whenever Marco Verratti missed games through injury, the Parisians looked well short of dynamism. Julian Draxler is there, of course, but Christopher Nkunku is Tuchel’s only other option.
Eriksen is the ingenious creator PSG need, but it’s unlikely he’ll be able to conjure up a route to Paris.
The chances of Daniel Levy selling to a direct domestic rival are incredibly remote.
Liverpool would no doubt head up the queue of Premier League sides interested in Eriksen, the two Manchester clubs would be there, too.
But there would be a premium for an English club so it doesn’t seem feasible. The 27-year-old might not be attainable, but he is certainly suitable for Liverpool.
The European champions have two spots to fill this summer; left-back and attacking midfield.
Jurgen Klopp still hasn’t replaced Philippe Coutinho after he left Barcelona in January 2018 following the collapse of last summer’s attempts to snare Nabil Fekir from Lyon.
A versatile playmaker is still on the wishlist and Eriksen’s natural ability to blend between a deeper creative role, out wide and in behind the striker makes him an attractive fit.
He has a different style to Coutinho in that the Brazilian is a dribble-first operator while Eriksen is much more considered in his approach, but his vision and technical talent would be appealing.
Good luck if they try to explore a transfer, though.
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