The Denmark international is free to leave the Premier League club at the end of the season and reports claim he’s not interested in signing a new deal.
Spurs losing one of their most influential players will no doubt play on the minds of Mauricio Pochettino and Daniel Levy. It’s even more of a distraction when considered neither know exactly what that is going to happen.
According to reports in Spain, Madrid neighbours Atlético and Real are both interested in Eriksen. And if one – particularly Real – decided they want the Dane then an full-on media assault will occur.
That could prove unsettling for the midfielder and damaging for Tottenham, especially if it takes place throughout the January transfer window.
The winter window will be the last chance Spurs have to recoup a fee for their playmaker. It automatically puts them at a disadvantage when heading into negotiations. An unfamiliar position for Levy.
Neither interested club will break the bank for a player they can sign for nothing just six months later. Their offers will reflect that and Tottenham then face a difficult decision.
Levy could dig in his heels and decide, no matter the consequences, he won’t be bullied into selling. It would impact the club’s coffers but would send a message to the rest of Europe and the Spurs squad: there is no easy way out.
Spurs would lose a £70million-rated midfielder for nothing. That would hurt. But they wouldn’t have been strongarmed, wouldn’t have taken the crumbs they were given from a European powerhouse.
Tottenham would look strong, resolute. It would also cement Levy’s reputation as one of Europe’s toughest negotiators. Eriksen wouldn’t have won the battle even if he wins the war.
However, Pochettino may not want a disillusioned player in his squad; he may push for Levy to get Eriksen out of the door in January.
From the outside, it would appear Spurs have blinked first in the standoff. But from the inside, it would be a positive decision as an unhappy player can disrupt team harmony.
Gary Neville discussed this in a recent interview with Stan Collymore: dissatisfaction can spread in the changing room like a disease unless a coach gets a handle on it. Performances suffer and then become secondary to the wider issues.
For what it’s worth, Eriksen has made an impact to Spurs this season. With Giovani Lo Celso not yet up to speed, the Dane has been given minutes by Pochettino. And he changed the game against Aston Villa and scored the opener against Arsenal.
But the former Ajax star has been very open about his desire to leave. Even this week he told the press: “I wish I could decide just like in Football Manager, but unfortunately I can’t.”
Whatever Spurs do decide to do, they need to decide soon and they need to stick with it. If Eriksen is staying until the summer he needs to be part of Pochettino’s first-team and this stance needs to be unwavering. If the plan is to sell him in January then their reliance on him has to stripped right back so it’s not a huge shock when he does depart.
It’s a big call and one they have to get right but this Eriksen saga needs to come to an end sooner rather than later. And Spurs need to make sure they come out of this looking strong.