Towards the back end of the summer, Spurs signing players up to new contracts was an almost daily occurrence, and one of the men who put pen to paper and committed his future to the club until 2020 was Christian Eriksen.
A number of European teams were supposedly monitoring the situation keenly in case contract talks didn’t go to plan, but with Eriksen’s signature, all transfer talk stopped.
Many observers of the north London club will notice that this hasn’t been the same Eriksen that played an integral role in Tottenham earning a Champions League place, though, and many will wonder what has happened to the 24-year-old.
It would be unfair to say that the Dane has simply downed tools after earning that new contract, but his performances this season have fallen far short of warranting that new bumper pay packet. He has netted just once in the Premier League with his only other goals coming in September’s demolition of Gillingham in the EFL Cup.
In the last two seasons, Eriksen was a near ever-present and only failed to appear on three occasions with 73 appearances from a possible 76. Already this season he has not featured in four of Tottenham’s first 13 league encounters.
A lack of fitness hasn’t helped Eriksen, and perhaps he has been used when a prolonged rest would do him the world of good.
Another thing that perhaps unfairly goes against him is the new contract that he has signed. This has almost become a millstone around his neck. With a pay rise, the expectations from fans and pundits alike has now increased and with every misplaced pass or poorly taken corner, the rumblings of discontent become louder.
But new contract or not there is no doubting that Eriksen has often been anonymous when playing this season.
What hasn’t helped is the fact that Tottenham have, at times, failed to stretch opponents like they did last season and that means that the attacking third then becomes very congested – the four forward players almost seem to be tripping over one other. With a failure to get the ball wide, Eriksen has been smothered to the point where he has been ineffectual.
A prime example of this was Tottenham’s defeat to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League last month. You could say that almost the whole team were guilty of not turning up that night but Eriksen was probably the biggest culprit and the fact that he was hauled off after 65 minutes was no coincidence.
An argument that could be levelled is that an element of complacency has crept into his game and the best way to resolve that would be for Tottenham to be active in the January transfer window. There’s no doubt a quality No.10 like Isco would light a fire under the Dane. The benefits here would be two fold, firstly Tottenham would be getting another quality player among the ranks who would be able to share the creative burden but also it would mean that Eriksen would have to up his own game as there would be a direct battle for attacking midfield berth.
The capture of Isco may be a possibility but it is still at least six weeks away and there is a lot of football to be played in that period. The former Ajax player will need to recapture the form that he is capable of in that time, otherwise Mauricio Pochettino could very well be tempted to look elsewhere.
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