Christian Eriksen Is the Player Who Can Fire Tottenham into the Top 4

James BarnesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2013

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - DECEMBER 01:  Christian Eriksen of Ajax gets ready to give a ball to the fans after victory in the Eredivisie match between Ajax Amsterdam and PSV Eindhoven at Amsterdam Arena on December 1, 2012 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Christian Eriksen’s arrival at White Hart Lane denotes Tottenham Hotspur’s best chance in recent years of usurping the fourth Champions League spot from Arsenal’s clutches.

Spurs have finally addressed a deficiency in the squad—the absence of a quality trequartista—that has existed since Modrić’s decampment.  

Eriksen’s vision, coupled with Roberto Soldado’s prolificacy, can be the catalyst that propels Spurs above their North London rival.

Spurs’ failure to finalise a deal for João Moutinho on last season’s transfer deadline day proved to be a pivotal oversight. Luka Modrić’s departure had dictated the urgent necessity of a replacement No. 10—an acquisition that never materialised.

Gylfi Sigurdsson, despite being a player of undoubted talents, was never the solution.

As the 12/13 campaign progressed, the lack of a midfield magician in the starting lineup became increasingly apparent. Gareth Bale’s last-minute pile-drivers, although spectacular, were in part enforced by an inability to carve out many clear-cut chances.   

Spurs’ start to the 13/14 season hasn't resolved this predicament. The North London derby was crying out for a creative spark; you could almost hear an echo of discontent from the fans within the ground, bemoaning AVB’s decision to leave Holtby on the bench.

Mercifully, Baldini & Co. identified this problem area in their pre-transfer window discussions and dutifully sought to bring in appropriate personnel. Namely, Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen.

Eriksen seamlessly fits into AVB’s two preferred formations for Spurs’ squad: 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1. In a 4-3-3 he is perfectly suited to the playmaker role of the midfield three, slotting in alongside a transitional midfielder (Paulinho/Dembele) and an enforcer (Sandro/Capoue). In a 4-2-3-1 his attributes would be conducive to playing as a traditional No. 10.   

Regardless of the imposed formation, Eriksen’ s integration will improve Spurs as an attacking threat in two key areas: the speed of their counter-attack and their efficiency at breaking down a resolute defensive outfit.

In terms of the counter-attack, the immediacy at which he plays through a marauding winger will enable Spurs to break into the opponent's half with speed and precision—in stark contrast to the ponderous, often lateral passing against Arsenal.

While his proficiency at threading defence-splitting lofted through balls will ensure that opposition centre-backs are consistently on guard. Many possess the technical skill to execute such passes; few are blessed with the innate presence of mind to anticipate them.

However, Eriksen's range of passing is not the only string to his bow.

Arguably, on his current form, Eriksen is the finest free-kick taker in Europe. Six free-kick goals in the last couple of months for club and country is an astonishing return (see the video below), a record which Bale can only aspire to.

Ultimately, Eriksen is a prospect. An investment with the potential to evolve under the right tutelage, as AVB explains (via

"What we did in the transfer market is in the expectancy of these players becoming world stars,” said the head coach. “I think what happened with Christian is a bit like what happened with Van der Vaart and Sneijder when they were at Ajax.

And, if it transpires that said investment becomes a driving force in Spurs' Champions League charge. Well, that that would be £11.5 million well spent.