Christian Eriksen has picked up more yellow cards than goals and assists combined in the Premier League this season.
With three bookings yet just one goal and as many assists to his name, it’s a measure of the petulance the Dane has displayed in a Tottenham shirt this season after failing to secure a move away from the club last summer.
Declaring his wish to “try something new” after last season’s Champions League run may seem somewhat reasonable on reflection, but at the time it had an air of arrogance.
With European heavyweights Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus queuing up to cherry-pick the best of the vibrant young Ajax team Tottenham knocked out in the semi-finals, Eriksen almost seemed to suggest that he too would be become a target for the elite.
It never happened. Madrid went for Eden Hazard, Barca signed Frenkie de Jong and Juve were content with the free acquisition of Aaron Ramsey.
In the dying days of the summer transfer window the best offer Eriksen supposedly had on the table was an uninspiring switch to fallen giants Manchester United.
But if Europe’s top dogs were reluctant to sign Eriksen last summer on the back of a season in which he scored 10 goals and registered 17 assists in all competitions, surely his club form this term will only detract their interest further?
Mourinho Spanner In The Works
Granted, he is available on a free next summer and could use Euro 2020 to put himself in the shop window if he hasn’t already signed a pre-contract agreement by that stage, but these days free signings come with enormous wage expectations, making clubs hesitant.
Sacked former manager Mauricio Pochettino had seemingly been phasing the 27-year-old out of the side due to his flailing attitude, but could the arrival of Jose Mourinho as the club’s new manager change the playmaker’s stance?
Tottenham could still try and sell Eriksen in January, but Mourinho may order his employers to renew their offer of a new contract. In truth, the player holds all the power in this situation, and Paddy Power make the contract rebel 4/9 to still be a Spurs player come February.
Juventus, the absolute masters of securing free signings, are unlikely to front up cash in January and that is reflective in the odds – they’re 16/1 to buy Eriksen in January, compared to just 5/1 to sign him next summer.
Despite Mourinho’s arrival, former Tottenham defender Pascal Chimbonda believes the club should do all they can to force a sale in January and agrees Eriksen must up his game if he is to regain the attention of the super-clubs.
“Spurs should sell him in January,” Chimbonda told Bookmakers.co.uk. “If he still doesn’t want to sign a new contract then just sell him and get what you can.
“But I don’t think he’s doing himself any favours by not playing to his true capabilities this season. I’m not sure he’s done enough to get the type of move he’s hoping for.
‘He Needs To Start Performing’
“Sometimes this happens when players are running down their contracts. Their heads aren’t in the game, they perform poorly and suddenly potential suitors think twice about signing them.
“He needs to start doing things in a Spurs shirt again because even in the free market clubs are mindful of handing out big wages to players who might not cut it.
“If Spurs sell him in January, I don’t think it’ll be to the club Eriksen imagined when he signalled his intention to see out his contract, based on his current form.
“At the moment, I can’t see him going to Madrid. Maybe Manchester United would be a good fit for him. I think Madrid have their eyes on Paul Pogba, so maybe that would free up room for Eriksen at United.
“If United don’t want him, or he doesn’t want to go there, then perhaps a big Italian team will come in for him. I’m sure Juventus have one eye on the situation.”
With Real Madrid apparently fixated on Pogba, and Barcelona evidently happy with de Jong’s progress – the Dutchman having started 15 of their 16 games so far this season – Eriksen’s dream move is looking increasingly likely to elude him.
At the moment, a move to Atletico Madrid (6/1) or Manchester United (8/1) next summer appear to be more feasible moves for Eriksen, but that’s almost certainly not what he had in mind when he decided Tottenham was no longer for him.
Perhaps the best option is to stick with Spurs after all.