Tottenham Hotspur’s hopes of finishing in the Premier League’s top four again this season hinge on the future of Christian Eriksen, according to Paul Merson.
Mauricio Pochettino has guided Spurs to top-four finishes in four consecutive seasons and even reached last season’s Champions League final before losing 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid.
Could Eriksen leave Spurs? Five key things to know…
- Eriksen joined Spurs from Ajax in 2013.
- Since then, he’s provided 64 Premier League assists.
- His form has helped Spurs secure four consecutive top-four finishes.
- But Merson believes Eriksen, linked with Real Madrid, will leave on a free at the end of the season.
- The ex-Arsenal forward says Spurs will struggle to compete in the top four if that happens.
Eriksen has been key to that success, providing 64 Premier League assists during his time at Spurs. However, the Denmark international has now entered the final year of his contract, while speculation continues to mount regarding a possible move to Real Madrid.
And should that come to pass, Merson thinks Spurs can kiss goodbye to their chances of Champions League qualification next season.
“I’d go as far as to say that if he went before the transfer window shuts, I’d be surprised if they got into the top four,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“I watched them against Aston Villa and they’d run out of ideas. There was nothing really happening for them. Harry Kane wasn’t getting any service as Villa kept things compact.
“Eriksen came on and it was a completely different last 25 minutes. He put the ball through the eye of a needle, he played little one-twos and he has vision.
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“It was a strange one [not starting him]. You do not want to lose him before the window closes.”
Merson added that he thinks Spurs will keep hold of Eriksen for now, but that the midfielder is likely to agree a deal in January to leave on a free transfer at the end of the season.
“I think he’ll stay at Spurs,” he added. “But he’ll have a contract sorted out in January to leave on a free next year.”
After beating Aston Villa 3-1 at the weekend, Spurs face a tough away trip to defending champions Manchester City on Saturday.