Spurs’ pivotal summer kicks off early with Eriksen comments
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The Denmark playmaker has suggested he wants a move away and Tottenham’s focus now must be on how much money the club can get and where to spend it
This was always going to be a crucial summer for Tottenham Hotspur and quotes from Christian Eriksen published this morning hint he may be the first of several to depart N17 between now and the start of the 2019/20 campaign.
In an interview with Danish magazine Ekstra Bladet, the 27-year-old stated his desire to 'try something new' amid links with Real Madrid, which have been present for months.
Days after Spurs' 2-0 loss to Liverpool in the Champions League final, the writing is on the wall and Mauricio Pochettino's squad must now be revamped.
Eriksen is reported to have told Ekstra Bladet: "I feel that I am a place in my career where I might want to try something new. I have the wildest and deepest respect for everything that has happened in Tottenham, but I have also said that I would like to try something new.
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"I hope there will be a clarification during the summer. That's the plan. But in football you do not know when clarification comes. It can happen anytime.
"Everyone wants it as soon as possible, but in football things take time. It depends on (Tottenham chairman) Daniel Levy. And another club has to come in. Or I have to sit down at the table and negotiate a new contract. You can't set a date yourself.
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"There are not many points that Tottenham cannot meet. If I have to go, then hopefully it will be a step up."
All of the above hints at Eriksen landing a move to Madrid or perhaps Barcelona this summer while Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are obvious potential destinations.
With only a year to go on his contract, this has felt a likely possibility for a while, but it only slightly eases the pain.
Much has been made of Eriksen's form this season and while in the Premier League he scored eight times and created 12 other goals, it has seemed like the midfielder has suffered a slight dip this campaign.
Nevertheless, his importance is mainly only acknowledged when he is not involved and since signing in 2013, that has remarkably hardly been the case.
The Denmark superstar has made 276 appearances for Tottenham and found the net on 66 occasions, with his last a free kick in a 2-2 draw with Everton last month.
Eriksen joined the same transfer window as Erik Lamela, who has made 187 outings for Spurs and scored 29 goals during the same six-year period.
It is perhaps unfair to compare the two, given the Argentinian's injury struggles, but there can no doubt the £11 million spent on signing the attacker from Ajax is among the best business ever done by chairman Daniel Levy.
Even this season, when Eriksen has suffered an understandable drop in performance levels after so much football, he managed decisive late winners in the league at home to Burnley and Brighton & Hove Albion.
Without them, Spurs finish outside of the top four while the goal against Inter Milan in the Champions League group stage kept the knock-out dream alive.
It looked a simple effort, but so many would have rushed it and not applied the required finish at such a crucial and high-pressure moment.
Eriksen is the man who makes Tottenham tick and it makes him very hard to replace, but Pochettino and Levy would have been aware this situation would eventually arise.
Now, Spurs must try to make as much profit as they can from him and despite 12 months to go on his current terms, the club will surely hope for something around £75 million.
If - and it's a big if - Eriksen's departure can be finalised quickly, there are several areas when the Lilywhites need to strengthen.
A replacement for the 27-year-old will be sought and other positions where reinforcements are needed include right-back, especially if Kieran Trippier leaves, central midfield after Mousa Dembele's January exit and in attack.
Fernando Llorente is out of contract on June 30 and should he move on, he will need to be replaced and days after the final game of the season, the stopwatch is ticking for Tottenham to have a squad capable of challenging again by August 8.
Additional reporting by Press Association Sport.