Jermaine Jenas believes Tottenham would be better off losing Christian Eriksen for free next summer rather than selling him for less than £50m right now.
With under 12 months left on his current deal, Eriksen’s future has been one of the transfer window’s biggest talking points.
Reports continue to link the Danish playmaker with big-money moves to Real Madrid and Juventus. So, Spurs have a difficult decision to make – either sell him now or lose him for nothing next year.
But Jenas, who made 202 appearances for the Lilywhites, warned them of the consequences of losing Eriksen this summer.
“If Tottenham are offered anything less than £50m for Christian Eriksen this month, then they should keep him – even if it means he leaves for nothing next summer,” he told BBC.
“Eriksen’s importance to the team was quite clear even just in Saturday’s win against Aston Villa, when he came on in the last half-an-hour with Spurs 1-0 down.
“I know Dele Alli was injured and Son Heung-min was suspended, but they needed Eriksen to get back into that game and for me, he gives them something different to every other player in Tottenham’s squad.
“I think Spurs have had a very good summer transfer window in terms of the players they have brought in, but it would change my outlook on the strength of their squad if they lose Eriksen – and certain other players – now.
“I hope Eriksen stays, because he is so valuable to their chances of winning a trophy under Mauricio Pochettino.
“Spurs might see last week’s loan signing Giovani lo Celso as a direct replacement for Eriksen, so they are ready if the right bid comes in, but they will be much stronger if he stays.”
Jenas added: “If they do get £50m, they will have done wonders – but any offers they get before the end of this month, when the transfer window closes in the rest of Europe, are likely to be a lot less than that.
“In terms of the difference it could make to Tottenham’s season, there are other players who I would be more willing to off-load to off-set some of the money they could lose out on by keeping Eriksen – Erik Lamela and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou for example.
“Part of it comes down to what the player himself is thinking, of course.
“Eriksen is 27 and said earlier this summer that he is at the stage of his career where he ‘might want to try something new’, and Real Madrid are reportedly interested in him.
“But he also spoke about the possibility of signing a new Spurs contract and of course he could always let his existing deal run down, knowing next year he can go for free.
“That is a win-win situation for him, because there would be no issues over which club meets Tottenham’s asking price.
“They can get him for free, and his wages will reflect that, so I don’t think he would sulk if he does end up staying with Spurs for another year.”