The future of Christian Eriksen is one of the most potent topics bubbling beneath the surface at Tottenham Hotspur right now, with his refusal to sign a new contract and reported interest from Real Madrid leaving some supporters resigned to losing him in the summer.
The lure of the Spanish capital cannot be denied: Real Madrid is arguably the most prestigious club in world football and the city itself is an incredibly desirable place to live. How can Spurs compete with that? Well, a state-of-the art stadium and promises of an integral role within the side, something which would not necessarily be guaranteed at Los Blancos, are two main pulling factors, but after five and a half years with the club it’s easy to sympathise with Eriksen’s likely desire to challenge himself within a new environment.
There is a feeling that the moment will be right for him to move on in the summer, and with his contract due to expire in 2020 Daniel Levy will remain in a position to command a significant fee for his services.
But Levy’s reputation may be giving the powers that be at Madrid reason to consider throwing in a makeweight into a potential deal to reduce the financial burden of meeting Eriksen’s asking price.
Well, according to The Independent, that’s exactly what they’re planning on doing. The report claims that sources close to the Bernabeu hierarchy want James Rodriguez to move to Tottenham in a bid to force through a deal for Eriksen.
Rodriguez’s career has never quite lived up to the enormous expectation which emerged when he burst onto the scene at the World Cup in 2014, with a stunning volley from the edge of the area providing a cinematic moment of brilliance to announce the birth of the next South American superstar.
The sensational transfer to Real Madrid which followed the tournament was tailor-made for a galactico in the making, and his instant impact suggested he was the real deal: a return of 13 goals and 13 assists from 29 La Liga appearances tells you all you need to know about the enormity of his impact on his debut season.
But injury problems and a struggle to adapt to different managerial philosophies since Carlo Ancelotti left Madrid have seen his influence diminish, and the fact Bayern Munich would not be averse to letting him leave this month (as per Independent) is telling about his struggle to fulfil his potential at the top level.
For all of Eriksen’s technical quality, one of his most defining features which makes him such an adored figure at Tottenham is his relentless work-rate. The Denmark international is integral to Pochettino’s high-press philosophy, but Rodriguez does not possess the same level of intensity in closing down the opposition that the Argentine demands from his players.
Rodriguez is the type of superstar who could be a 10/10 one week and go missing the next week when Spurs need a gargantuan performance from their star man, so Pochettino and Levy should think twice before sanctioning the mooted swap deal.
In terms of raw talent Rodriguez is an exceptional player, but there is reason to doubt whether he would be a good fit at Tottenham.
Isco, on the other hand, would be a far more natural replacement for Eriksen (valued at £72 million by Transfermarkt) if they can get him, and Levy should strive to bring the majestic Spaniard to north London over the unpredictable Rodriguez.
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