Tottenham will tell Real Madrid they expect a fee in excess of £100m (Sh12.8bn) for Christian Eriksen.
Eriksen, on international duty with Denmark, has one year left on his contract and has confirmed his desire to leave.
“I feel that I am at a stage of my career where I would like to try something new,” the 27-year-old told the Danish newspaper, Ekstra Bladet. “I have the deepest respect for everything that is happening at Tottenham and it would not be something negative to stay. But I have also said that I would like to try something new. I hope that something will be decided this summer. That is the plan. In football, you never know when there could be a decision like that. It could be at any point.”
“The best thing is always for it to happen quickly but in football things take time.”
Juventus have always been keen on Eriksen but the Dane appears set on finishing his career in Spain and Real Madrid are in the market for a midfielder of his style.
They have also been heavily linked with Paul Pogba of Manchester United. Spurs and Real have a forged good understanding, which goes back to the sales of Gareth Bale and Luka Modric. For two years after the sale of Modric in 2012, there was a formal relationship. Bale followed to the Bernabeu a year later and in 2014 the agreement was ended.
Tottenham’s priorities in this summer’s transfer market are for two new midfielders. They are thought to have about £50million Sh6.4bn) set aside for transfers and will have to generate any other funds from player sales. So the sale of Eriksen will play a key role.
His desire to leave has been known for some time. He has refused to sign a new contract and his current deal expires next year. Indeed, his representative Martin Schoots, said: “They [Eriksen’s quotes] are not a surprise to the club. He has never made a secret of his dreams and told them about it.”
He may be the creative heartbeat of Mauricio Pochettino’s team but the prospect of keeping him against his will only for him to walk out on a free next summer makes no sense. Spurs need the money and will encourage offers for Eriksen, as they will for Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose, Georges-Kevin Nkoudou and Victor Wanyama.
Toby Alderweireld has a clause which enables him to move for £25m (Sh3.2bn) but looks at the moment as though he is preparing to stay until his contract expires next year and leave on a free.
Box-to-box France international midfielder Tanguy Ndombele of Lyon is Tottenham’s top transfer target and is expected to cost around £80m (sh10bn). Spurs are also in pursuit of Argentina international Giovani lo Celso of Real Betis. Lo Celso is an attacking midfielder with a release clause in his contract of £88m (sh11bn), although £60m (Sh7.7bn) might persuade Betis to do business for a player signed for £20m (Sh2.7bn) from Paris Saint-Germain in January.
Neither are like-for-like Eriksen replacements but players with Eriksen’s craft and vision are hard to find. Spurs have had an interest in James Maddison since he was at Norwich but prising him away from Leicester would be difficult and expensive.
They have also closely tracked the development of Nicolo Zaniolo at Roma. Zaniolo was often deployed on the left of a midfield trio last season and could slide into the role which would be vacated by Eriksen. There has been a great buzz about his emergence in recent months but he is young, not 20 until July, and for all his promise not quite the finished article.
All of which may lead Pochettino to consider reshaping his team going into next season with a more robust and physical middle three, akin to Liverpool. He became fond of a midfield diamond during the last campaign with Harry Winks in the key role as the deepest player, Moussa Sissoko regularly on the right and Eriksen often on the left.
Adding Ndombele and Lo Celso would give him more options to play this way. Tottenham have some creative options further forward in Heung-min Son, Lucas Moura, Dele Alli and Erik Lamela and, of course, the goal power of Harry Kane.
They are also eager to inject more pace and are keen on Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon, who can operate in various positions on the left. Whichever of these plans develop successfully, Spurs will require money and this means squeezing as much as they can from the sale of Eriksen.