Christian Eriksen has long held back on the decision to join the Premier League, or conversely to leave Ajax. The time wasn’t always right. As a blossoming attacking playmaker, a lot could have gone wrong with a premature departure from the environment that was perfectly suited to developing his game.
Much in the same way as former famous Ajax names such as Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder, Eriksen needed to harness his skills and taste the highs and lows of football with the Dutch club. Under Martin Jol, Ajax were accused of deviating too far from their roots. Under Frank de Boer, the Amsterdam club have won three Eredivisie titles on the bounce, returning to tradition and offering Eriksen the rewards he deserved from Dutch football as well as the experience of Champions League, which would greatly prepare him for life beyond Ajax.
The Danish midfielder’s qualities are well known. He’s a player who’s been highly coveted by some of the biggest and wealthiest names in Europe. So far over of the past year, interest and pursuits from Manchester City, Bayer Leverkusen, Zenit St. Petersburg, Borussia Dortmund, and Liverpool have all resulted in nothing. The player once confessed to only being interested in a move to the Camp Nou, continuing on this spiritual path that began at the Amsterdam Arena. It says a lot, then, that Spurs have been able to lure the player to White Hart Lane, offering him a continuation of his football education over the money that could have been doubled elsewhere.
The time was right now. Despite being physically slight, the mental maturity of Eriksen will allow him to combat the toughness of Premier League football. During Ajax’s second of three titles under de Boer, the Dane became one of the stars of the team, securing a place as most advanced playmaker in the side and building off the confidence and responsibility placed upon him. He very much understands what’s needed from him as a key player at the highest level.
As a player, naturally he’s a joy to watch. The comparisons to Michael Laudrup will obviously be there, but Eriksen does hold a legitimate claim that goes beyond the simple matter of nationality to eventually be placed alongside the current Swansea manager. During his time with Ajax, Eriksen has scored 33 goals and added a further 66 assists. A midfielder capable of the lot in an attacking sense is very much what Tottenham have secured. Where once there were question marks – and surprisingly there were – the doubts are now few and far between, with only a matter of adding further to his goal tally over a season being one of the final important factors.
Eriksen’s contract situation and final decision to join Spurs very much acts as a compliment to the north London club. With only one year remaining on his deal, Eriksen likely would have remained with Ajax had the “right” club not come along. As mentioned, it wasn’t a matter of money and riches, but sporting first and foremost. Andre Villas-Boas is progressive, he has a clear mental path for what he wants to accomplish at Tottenham. Unlike other clubs where Eriksen would have been considered a trophy and put on display in front of the rest of Europe, Tottenham were offering something that suited the player perfectly.
A period of acclimatisation will clearly be needed for the step up to one of Europe’s biggest leagues, but there’s little doubting that the “right” club in Tottenham have come along at the right time for Eriksen.
Has Eriksen made the right choice in moving to Tottenham now?
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