Tottenham will struggle to keep hold of Christian Eriksen if Real Madrid come in for him, according to former Spurs midfielder Paul Stewart.
Mauricio Pochettino encouraged his star player on Thursday not to turn his back on the club who have helped him become one of European football’s most coveted assets.
However Eriksen, whose current contract expires in 2020, has opted against signing a new deal so far, and is thought to be considering a move to the La Liga giants next summer.
“Tottenham desperately need to keep Eriksen because they didn’t buy anyone in the summer, but it’s only natural a player like him will attract attention,” Stewart told Ian Stone's Comedy Breakfast (weekdays 6.30am-10.30am).
“I’d be disappointed if he left because he’s one of the Premier League’s outstanding quality players, but you can understand why Real Madrid would want him.”
Spurs enter a crucial period of their season this weekend when they face Chelsea at Wembley, with a Champions League clash against Inter Milan and the North London derby away to Arsenal to follow in the next seven days.
However Stewart is concerned Eriksson’s contract situation could begin to cause problems for the team if it is not sorted out soon.
“When Real Madrid come knocking at the door and you’ve got your eye on a move it’s very difficult to not let it affect your performances,” he explained.
“This kind of speculation happens constantly with the way the game is now, so the rumour mongering is never going to stop.
“You would hope professional players can just get on with the job and not take their eye off the ball, but when a team like Madrid come calling it’s very difficult not to get distracted, and that’s disruptive for the team.”
Stewart also had praise for Spurs’ opponents on Saturday, admitting he didn’t expect Chelsea’s players to adapt so quickly to life under Maurizio Sarri.
“I’ve had to eat my words with Chelsea,” he said.
“I didn’t think they’d even make the top four this season, but they’ve done extremely well and proved a lot of people wrong.
“I thought Arsenal and Chelsea would both have a bedding-in period for a season while their new managers got the players working in the way they wanted, but that doesn’t seem to have been the case.
“I don’t see either team being a clear favourite for this game really.”
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