Football

Tottenham: Eriksen is vital to Champions League hopes

Eriksen developed a promising reputation at Ajax. (©GettyImages)
Eriksen developed a promising reputation at Ajax. (©GettyImages).

In a summer transfer window that was filled with controversy, elation, desperation and frantic scrambles, Tottenham Hotspur were the chief headline makers after they smashed their own transfer record on three separate occasions and bolstered their squad with seven impressive new signings at a cost in excess of £100 million. 

Alongside the £26 million deal that brought Spanish striker Roberto Soldado to White Hart Lane, manager Andre Villas-Boas also managed to complete the signings of French midfielder Etienne Capoue, Brazilian international Paulinho, Steaua Bucharest defender Vlad Chiriches, Belgian Nacer Chadli and Roma starlet Erik Lamela. 

But perhaps the most impressive deal completed by Spurs this summer, both in terms of sheer importance and financial value, was the £11 million capture of hugely gifted playmaker Christian Eriksen from Eredivisie giants Ajax. 

Despite the raft of new signings to have arrived in North London of late, it is 21-year-old Eriksen, who has already earned 37 caps for his native Denmark, that holds the key to Spurs' hopes of returning to the promised land of the Champions League next season.

During his formative years in Amsterdam, Eriksen has displayed a formidable talent that already sees him rank among Europe's top midfield players. His commendable vision and exquisite passing ability are both incredibly strong assets that should, providing he is also able to quickly adjust to the physical demands that are unquestionably posed by football on these shores, enable him to flourish in the top flight.

Despite the business done by Spurs during the transfer window, their start to the 2013/14 domestic season has been rather low-key. Although they can boast two wins from three games and only one goal conceded, they have largely struggled to break down resilient and defensively sturdy opposition without the sensational goal exploits of Gareth Bale, who completed his world-record move to Spanish giants Real Madrid last weekend. 

In their opener against newly-promoted Crystal Palace, Spurs monopolised possession but were unable to create too many clear-cut scoring opportunities and were forced to rely upon a Soldado penalty to claim all three points. 

Such problems occurred once again in their next fixture against Swansea. Indeed, in their disappointing 1-0 defeat in the North London derby to fierce rivals Arsenal on Sunday, Spurs once again failed to sufficiently trouble their opponents and too often seemed content to simply pepper the opposition penalty area with a barrage of speculative and ultimately unsuccessful crosses. 

It almost appeared at certain intervals as if Spurs had deployed too many midfielders of the same ilk. While each of Capoue, Dembele and Paulinho undoubtedly have their respective merits, none of them appear to have the ability to provide quality service to the forward line on a consistent basis. 

This is where Eriksen's role will be so crucial. As the archetypal number 10, the Dane should thrive in providing the link between Spurs' dominant midfield and Soldado in the final third. His creative prowess and ability to dissect opposition defences should be of enormous benefit to Soldado in particular as the former-Valencia man will surely thrive on Eriksen's admirable guile. 

He will not be able to do it alone, of course. It goes without saying that all of Spurs' new signings will have to complement the existing squad and quickly acclimatise themselves to life in the Premier League. But if the club are truly serious about moving on from the Bale era and re-asserting their status among Europe's elite, then much will depend on Eriksen. 

Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Football
Premier League

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