Forget Eriksen’s hint: Champions League final performance should’ve been the last straw

It is time for Christian Eriksen to leave Tottenham Hotspur.

He has said as much himself, admitting that he hopes to leave for a new challenge. Speaking to Ekstra Bladet, he said: “I feel that I am at a stage of my career where I would like to try something new.

“I have the deepest respect for everything that is happening at Tottenham and it would not be something negative to stay. But I have also said that I would like to try something new.

“I hope that something will be decided this summer. That is the plan. In football, you never know when there could be a decision like that. It could be at any point. The best thing is always for it to happen quickly but in football things take time.”

Eriksen’s comments are all well and good but, really, Tottenham should have decided his career at the club was over the moment the Champions League final finished.

This was a game that was absolutely set up for Eriksen to turn in a match-winning display and, in the Madrid sun, he wilted.

Eriksen has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid this summer but, following the defeat, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy should have offered to drive him to the Santiago Bernabeu himself.

Yes, Spurs fell behind early to Mohamed Salah’s harshly awarded penalty. Yes, the conditions were far from ideal; the players visibly struggled with the humidity in Madrid.

But after the Reds scored, they retreated to the edge of their penalty box, almost daring Spurs to break them down.

Eriksen is the creator-in-chief, the player who is charged with picking the lock, with playing the pass, or with scoring from range. He did none of the three.

In fact, so poor was he that it appeared that he simply abdicated his every responsibility, shirking the ball and making the wrong decision when he did have it.

Earlier in the season, after Eriksen showed that he can change games by scoring a late, long-range winner against Brighton & Hove Albion at the new Spurs stadium, Sky Sports pundit Liam Rosenior lavished praise on him on The Debate, insisting that he is “world-class”.

He said, via Football.London: “It’s a world-class goal from a world-class player. It’s an incredible strike, it’s his left foot, his supposed weaker foot.

“When you’re Brighton and you’re tired, you’re going deeper and deeper, you’re going to give up shots from outside the box but that’s an absolute arrow into the bottom corner.

“Since he’s come to this new stadium he’s flourished in this environment. He’s a world-class player and you need that when you’re playing against a team that has defended as well as Brighton had in this game.”

Christian Eriksen looks dejected after Tottenham Hotspur defeat

And yet he may as well have not been on the field against Liverpool and it is the latest in a long line of disappointments.

It is perhaps why Mauricio Pochettino is courting Giovani Lo Celso, the Real Betis playmaker who scored 16 goals in all competitions in 2018-19. The Argentine has a fearsome track record and would surely improve on whatever Eriksen is purporting to offer.

Indeed, last season he failed to score against a top-six side in the Premier League. His goals came against Everton – twice – Brighton, Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Cardiff City, AFC Bournemouth and Burnley.

This is not a clutch player, he is not integral to the way Spurs play and his performance in Madrid only seals it. It is perhaps why Real manager Zinedine Zidane is said to be having second thoughts over a possible move.

Per WhoScored, he had just one shot on target, made just one key pass – two fewer than left-back Danny Rose – and did not complete a dribble, nor did he make a tackle. He was also dispossessed once and failed to complete a single accurate corner.

This is a player who has been rated at £100m.

It remains to be seen if he will actually move this summer now, with Real seemingly heeding Zidane’s advice and turning to Paul Pogba of Manchester United.

But Eriksen does want out.

After the Champions League final and his disgrace of a performance, Spurs should want him out too.