Why Christian Eriksen Will Spend at Least a Couple More Seasons at Tottenham

Thomas CooperFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2015

Christian Eriksen watches on during Tottenham Hotspur's 5-1 win over Bournemouth this past weekend.
Christian Eriksen watches on during Tottenham Hotspur's 5-1 win over Bournemouth this past weekend.Alex Broadway/Getty Images

Compared to team-mates Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris, transfer speculation over Tottenham Hotspur's Christian Eriksen this past summer was minimal.

While the star striker and world-class goalkeeper were frequently linked with moves to Manchester United—such as in this Telegraph piece from June—reports on Eriksen felt far less substantial.

Talk of Juventus pursuing him as part of their plans to replace Arturo Vidal, here via Jack de Menezes of the Independent, was mostly tenuous.

It was a reflection of the 23-year-old's low-key finish to 2014-15. The zest that characterised his season-stimulating late autumn and winter performances giving way to less prominent involvement down the final stretch.

It is in part why a footballer, who remains a work in progress, will likely spend at least a couple seasons more with his current employers.

Eriksen in action against the Cherries. After last season's quiet finish and injury disrupted start to the new campaign, the Tottenham playmaker has hit a good run of form.
Eriksen in action against the Cherries. After last season's quiet finish and injury disrupted start to the new campaign, the Tottenham playmaker has hit a good run of form.Alex Broadway/Getty Images

The reality at the moment is Tottenham's quest for entry into the elite of English and European football means their best players will continue to be coveted.

Spurs are good enough to attract and develop talent capable of facilitating repeated attempts at the chase, but they are not so successful yet as to guarantee they will want to stay when clubs already at the top level register their interest in such eye-catching performers.

Eriksen, himself, was signed by Spurs as part of the cycle in 2013. His former club Ajax are a bigger name in aspects of their history and relative success, but they were unable to offer the kind of competitive environment he would find in the Premier League.

"Every game will be like a Champions League game for me and that’s what I want," Eriksen told his new club's official website after completing the move two years ago. "That’s why I moved, I want every game to be exciting."

"Exciting" is one way to describe an eventful couple of seasons Eriksen has so far spent with Spurs.

Eriksen and Aaron Lennon celebrating a win over Manchester United in January 2014. The Denmark international was already a proper talent in his first season at Tottenham, but there remains scope for him to get even better.
Eriksen and Aaron Lennon celebrating a win over Manchester United in January 2014. The Denmark international was already a proper talent in his first season at Tottenham, but there remains scope for him to get even better.ANDREW YATES/Getty Images

Helping to keep the team on some sort of track through the managerial upheaval of his first campaign, the Denmark international displayed composure and maturity that eluded most of his more experienced team-mates.

He was to be less vital overall in 2014-15 as Kane led the way under Mauricio Pochettino, but at his best the playmaker was still to be the inspiration for some important results.

Weekly performances akin to those Eriksen showed in inspiring wins over Southampton at home, Hull City away and helping secure Spurs' place in the Capital One Cup final would almost certainly have put him at the forefront of the north Londoners' players most desired by other clubs.

But unlike some previously lured away from Spurs such as Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale, Eriksen has not yet reached the level that would make him a must-have acquisition for European giants.

Though these clubs can be tempted into bidding for a man-of-the-moment in this upper-end of the market (as appeared to be the case with Manchester United and Kane in the summer), generally they will not move without a resume of regular match-winning performances or belief in a target's big-match know-how.

Eriksen standing his ground against Crystal Palace. He came off the bench to make the match-winning assist for Heung-Min Son.
Eriksen standing his ground against Crystal Palace. He came off the bench to make the match-winning assist for Heung-Min Son.BEN STANSALL/Getty Images

Eriksen is not far off all this, though. Having overcome injury at the start of this season, he is settling into a good run of form that may prove to be the foundation of his best year yet.

Two clever free-kicks earned Spurs a draw at Swansea City, while he has also played well in wins over Crystal Palace and Bournemouth.

In November, he will have multiple opportunities to show his worth in big fixturesan area where he has not quite shone yet in a Spurs shirt—with the important Europa League match with Anderlecht and consecutive London derbies versus Arsenal, West Ham United and Chelsea on the horizon.

If Eriksen does improve sufficiently this season to garner some serious interest from elsewhere, the couple of years seemingly remaining on his contract (h/t Liam Prenderville of the Daily Mirror) should give Spurs leeway to resist any offers for a player who will have have reinforced his status as one of their most important.

In which case, Spurs should hold onto him until at least 2017. The value of utilising such a talented playmaker for one more year surely outweighs the prospect of the few extra million they would be able to ask from any prospective suitors further away from his deal expiring.

Eriksen celebrates scoring against Anderlecht. Just about the only ultimately disappointing performance from him over the last month.
Eriksen celebrates scoring against Anderlecht. Just about the only ultimately disappointing performance from him over the last month.VI-Images/Getty Images

It is possible a new, position-strengthening contract will be agreed before then, too. Pochettino and Tottenham will hope Eriksen getting even better will result in the team progressing to a point where he and the likes of Kane and Lloris will have no interest in leaving.

Where the prospect of achieving even more with a side they have inspired to a point of success, such as a trophy and/or Champions League spot, will be a more desirable challenge than just slotting in with another club already there.

"Everyone has followed the development from Spurs, it only goes upward and that’s what I want to be part of, one of the biggest clubs in England," Eriksen said in his introductory interview.

He was unlikely to say much different as he sought to get on the side of his new team's supporters. The departures of players like Bale and Keane in the past have shown previous loyalty can give way to new ambitions.

But having put this much into developing Tottenham so far, and with time on his side, the Pochettino regime taking the team forward should keep Eriksen content for a little while yet.

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