Christian Eriksen to Liverpool: Tracking the Evolution of the Rumour
The final whistle of the season has not yet blown, but as we edge closer to the opening of the summer transfer window, a slew of rumours abound.
Summer would just not be the same if we didn't have Europe’s top clubs making eyes at every hotly tipped footballing prodigy.
Eriksen is one such player. With just a year remaining on his current contract at Ajax, he has been linked with a host of clubs, including Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur (The Independent), Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund.
It’s difficult to predict if Eriksen will be wearing a Liverpool shirt next season but one thing is certain—there will be a lot more rumours about the 21-year-old between now and then.
Here we look back at the evolution of Eriksen’s links with Liverpool.
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Trials at Chelsea
Eriksen started to attract admiring glances in the Premier League four years ago, with his performances for the Denmark U17 squad.
I always thought it would be better to go to Holland first, especially because of the position I play and the football I wanted to play,
Ajax have a tradition of good football and play 4-3-3, which suits me. They also spend lots of money on youth players with the aim of putting them in the first team.
Top sides in England have to get into the Champions League every year so they are not going to buy a 17-year-old and put him straight in the first team.
They buy players who can play now. You might not get a game until you are 21. So why should you go there?
Emerging at Ajax
Eriksen signed professional terms with Ajax in 2008 (UEFA.com).
And after breaking into the first team, he was already attracting interest.
"For his age he is a fantastic player. If he can keep on developing, he can become one of the best No10s in Ajax's history," said Ajax youth coach Frank de Boer (UEFA.com).
The 2010/11 season was when Eriksen really started to turn heads.
He was the youngest player to take part in the 2010 World Cup (The Independent), won the Eredivisie with Ajax, was voted Danish Player of the Year (Transfermarkt) and Dutch Talent of the Year (FIFA.com).
The young playmaker also created a stir after his performance for Denmark in a friendly against England. Pre-match, all the talk had been about Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere. But it was another young midfielder who got the acclaim (The Guardian).
Following his Denmark performance, Eriksen was already being linked with Liverpool but insisted that his mind was focused solely on Ajax.
"If I got an offer from Liverpool now, I believe I would reject it. If I did move, it would have to be Barcelona."
In the 2011/12 season, Christian Eriksen made six appearances in the Champions League, scoring his first goal in the competition against Dinamo Zagreb.
He also got to play against the likes of Lyon, Real Madrid and, in the Europa League, Manchester United. Which further exposed him to those watching his progress around Europe.
Reports on ESPN.com at the time suggested that he was being tracked by Manchester United, Barcelona and Manchester City, with scouts from Liverpool constantly monitoring the then 18-year-old, according to insidefutbol.com.
The Sunday Times claimed that the Anfield side were weighing up a serious bid for Eriksen and reported that Martin Jol, who was coaching Eriksen at Ajax, said:
"In 18 months he’ll be too big for Holland, he is already probably worth the most of any player in the Dutch League."
Calling Time on Ajax Contract
This season, Eriksen has impressed again in the Champions League.
He played against Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and Manchester City, scoring against the Premier League side in a 3-1 Ajax win.
Ajax did not advance beyond the group stages, but the spotlight was on Eriksen once more.
Speculation was also fuelled by the Dane’s apparent refusal to sign a new contract with the Eredivisie side (Mirror).
According to the Daily Star, Manchester United and Liverpool were keeping close tabs on the midfielder.
Ajax Director of Football Marc Overmars confirmed in March that Liverpool had been long-time fans of Eriksen (Goal.com) and that the club was aware of their interest.
Rumours linking Eriksen with Liverpool intensified to the point that Ajax issued a statement in April, denying reports that an agreement had been reached between the two clubs (Skysports.com).
In his column for the Liverpool Echo, former Reds player and fellow Dane Jan Molby added his thoughts to the situation last month:
"I'd love to see him at Liverpool, and he is exactly the type of player Liverpool should be looking at, but there will be some serious competition I am sure."
Elsewhere, current Liverpool defender and Denmark teammate Daniel Agger told the Daily Mail that Eriksen would be the perfect signing for Liverpool.
The most recent reports coming out of the Amsterdam Arena suggest that Eriksen will be putting pen to paper with Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund.
The Sun suggesting that the in-demand midfielder would choose Jurgen Klopp's team over Brendan Rodgers' side.
Eriksen, who is being touted as a possible replacement to Dortmund’s departing Mario Gotze, was quoted in De Telegraaf (via The Guardian) as saying:
Dortmund are a club where I would like to play. I think I would be a good fit with the football there. Dortmund play nice, attacking football.
The Bundesliga has never really been my preferred choice and a few years ago I would not even have considered it, but now I do. The competition is getting stronger and it is no coincidence the two Champions League finalists are German clubs.
I know there has been contact between the two clubs, and both Ajax and Dortmund have already talked to my agent. I will consider all the clubs and quietly make a decision. I want clarity when preparing for the new season, that's the best thing – for everyone.
As with all rumours at this time of year, it’s hard to tell what the outcome will be.
The last time Liverpool thought they were losing out on a signing from Ajax was in 2010 (The Independent). For a certain player by the name of Luis Suarez…
Watch this space.