Jose Mourinho Critical of Timing of Inter Milan Bid for Christian Eriksen

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2020

Tottenham Hotspur's Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho (L) instructs Tottenham Hotspur's Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen as he comes on the field during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at The London Stadium, in east London on November 23, 2019. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
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Christian Eriksen's move from Tottenham Hotspur to Inter Milan is reportedly imminent, but Jose Mourinho isn't happy about the Serie A giants' pursuit of the playmaker.

Mourinho, who guided Inter to the treble in 2010, discussed Eriksen's situation after Spurs drew 1-1 away to Southampton in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday. In particular, Mourinho took exception to the timing of the Nerazzurri showing their interest, per BBC Sport:

"Tottenham is the last one to blame for this situation. I just want to say that this situation shouldn't happen on 25 January. The only thing I can say is Eriksen, since I arrive, he is behaving in a very, very professional way, with me and the team. But to be on 25 January in a situation like this is not nice."

BBC Sport's Simon Stone reported earlier in the day how Inter are hopeful of wrapping up a deal on Monday, with an "outline agreement" already existing between the two clubs.

It's been a protracted process, with Fabrizio Romano of the Guardian reporting on Friday that Inter and Spurs had agreed on a fee of €20 million (£16.7 million). Yet while Mourinho has been left waiting for a resolution, Tottenham haven't been in the dark over the Denmark international's desire to leave.

Eriksen said he wanted out last summer and subsequently became a bit-part player under former manager Mauricio Pochettino, though injuries and the team's poor form have still seen the Dane make 28 appearances (14 starts) of a possible 34 this season. The midfielder was left out of the squad altogether on Saturday, though.

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Spurs were aware of the need to think ahead about a midfield without Eriksen, and Mourinho told reporters the club will trigger the option to sign Giovani Lo Celso permanently from Real Betis after he was initially acquired on loan in the summer:

The Argentinian made a slow start to life with the Lilywhites, partly because of a hip injury, but he has been impressing recently:

Still just 23, Lo Celso is a budding star whose energy, creativity and eye for goal can help offset losing Eriksen's influence. Even so, there is little doubt the former Ajax man will be missed after scoring 69 goals and providing 89 assists in 305 games for the club.

Without Eriksen, the onus will be on Lo Celso, Harry Winks and Dele Alli to provide creativity.

While he may not like the timing of Inter formalising their interest, Mourinho will welcome a definite resolution to the situation. To that end, the 56-year-old should be grateful Eriksen appears to be pushing ahead towards Inter, despite reports Barcelona have also shown interest, per Sky Sports.

Should they complete the move, Inter will be getting a player with the craft to add some flair and ingenuity to an otherwise workmanlike midfield.