This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
In 12 months time, Tottenham will look back to this summer as a truly defining moment. It will either evoke a feeling of vindication that things turned out as planned, or a tinge of regret about what might have been.
Christian Eriksen looks likely to depart north London, but the club’s decision on whether or not to cash in on him this summer could be landscape-changing. If his performance against Aston Villa is anything to go by however, then Spurs simply must hold on to him for now.
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The Denmark international came off the bench against Dean Smith’s newly-promoted side and immediately injected a sense of urgency and creativity to proceedings. The north Londoners had found the first-half rather hard-going as the visitors sat deep and soaked up the pressure with relative ease. The likes of Harry Kane, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura barely had a look-in and it didn’t look as though Spurs were going to breach the Villa defence.
But stepping off the bench with 26 minutes to go, Eriksen registered three shots and three key passes to swing the game into Spurs’ favour. Tanguy Ndombele’s goal might have been the kick-start to Mauricio Pochettino’s side’s comeback, but it was Eriksen who really turned things up a notch with his directness.
The Dane’s ability to pick out runners from deep and also act as a threat from distance meant Villa could no longer just sit on their six-yard box. They had to come out and close the 27-year-old down, and that simply played into the former Ajax star’s hands.
In the end, Spurs ran out comfortable 3-1 winners in their opening Premier League game of the season. But perhaps more importantly, it delivered a reminder that Eriksen could be the key to the north London side’s success this season.
Cashing in on him now would simply weaken them and rob them of a game-changing option. Keeping him for a season – even if that means letting him leave on a free – would undoubtedly boost their chances of winning a trophy. And that would be priceless.