In a recent Q&A with supporters, the ever-reliable reporter claimed that Lyon midfielder Lucas Paqueta was someone Spurs had been monitoring ahead of the summer transfer window.
“If he [Eriksen] decides against Spurs then, among others, the club have also been looking at Lyon’s Brazil international Lucas Paqueta, a player Newcastle tried to sign earlier this year,” he revealed.
“The versatile 24-year-old can play in an attacking midfield role, centrally or on the right and can also play up front when required.”
Eriksen is thought to be weighing up “multiple offers” following his impressive comeback at Brentford during the second half of the 2021/22 campaign, with the Bees, Spurs and Manchester United all keen on sealing his signature on a free transfer.
The Dane enjoyed a remarkable return to professional football this year and played a big part in Brentford remaining a top-flight outfit heading into next season.
Across ten appearances, he provided one goal and four assists, also averaging an xG+A of 0.48 and 6.25 progressive passes per 90, as per FBref.
Compared to his positional peers in the Premier League, Eriksen ranked inside the top 2% for assists and key passes per 90, the top 6% for shots on target, and the top 1% for dead-ball goal-creating actions (set-pieces).
It’s no wonder Conte is keen to bring him back to Hotspur Way this off-season. However, if he re-signs with Brentford or goes to Manchester United, then Spurs will need a solid alternative, and there won’t be many better than the Lyon maestro.
Paqueta delivered nine goals and six assists across 35 appearances in Ligue 1 last term. He also averaged more xG+A than the Denmark international, registering 0.56 per 90.
When comparing his exploits to the rest of Europe’s elite divisions and his general midfield peers, the 24-year-old dynamo ranks inside the top 1% for shots on target (1.07 per 90), the top 2% for expected assists (0.25 per 90) and the top 2% for shot-creating actions (3.99 per 90), also via FBRef.
Lyon team-mate Jerome Boateng waxed lyrical about the Brazil international, claiming: “He brings so much to our team. He’s running a lot, his skills of course, his technique, his creating chances, his passing, his fighting for the ball, he helps us a lot. And I think he has a big potential to be really a world star in football.”
Also lauded as “amazing” and “extraordinary” by his manager Peter Bosz, the £31.5m-rated star could be the ideal alternative, if not a much better option considering his age and long-term potential, to Eriksen – the only problem would be the fact that a transfer fee would need to be paid.
On the above evidence, though, he would surely be worth every penny, thus making him the perfect signing this summer.