Ajax playmaker Christian Eriksen has emerged as a summer transfer target for Tottenham and Liverpool with the two Premier League clubs “scouting him almost every week.”
The exciting young Danish midfielder has refused to sign a new contract, and while it was expected he would remain in the Netherlands until it expires in 2014, The Evening Standard have learnt that Ajax expect Eriksen to leave at the end of the current campaign.
The 21-year-old wants to play in England, and while he has been linked with a host of clubs, including Arsenal, Manchester United and Barcelona, it is Tottenham and Liverpool who head the interested parties for Ajax's star asset.
It is understood Liverpool and Spurs have sent scouts to watch Eriksen “almost every week”, according to a senior source at Ajax, with Arsenal, Manchester United and Barcelona no longer interested. The Gunners are thought to view Eriksen as a similar player to Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere, both of whom prefer to play in the same advanced role behind the strikers.
Similarly, United’s purchase of Shinji Kagawa is thought to have ended their advances for Eriksen, who is the same type of player albeit younger.
That leaves the way clear for Spurs and Liverpool to act.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is thought to be confident of driving down Ajax’s £14million asking price to somewhere closer to £8m given Eriksen has just one year left on his current deal.
However, negotiations are yet to begin, with all parties happy to wait until the rest of the season safe in the knowledge Eriksen has now privately confirmed his intention to play in England.
A senior Ajax source said: “Christian wants to play in the Premier League and we think he will do well there. The club had discussed the option of keeping him until the end of his contract but it makes sense now to sell.
“Liverpool and Spurs are scouting him almost every week. Arsenal are no longer interested and Man United are not on the scene. The club will not let him go cheaply so there is a long way to go but it seems likely he will move to Tottenham or Liverpool.”
Ajax are seeking their third consecutive Dutch Eredivisie title and sit just two points behind leaders PSV Eindhoven after 25 games. Eriksen has scored six goals in 24 League games this season and has earned 31 caps for Denmark. Spurs are hopeful that Jan Vertonghen’s relationship with Eriksen could prove influential. The Belgian played alongside Eriksen last season and last December he claimed his former team-mate would be well suited to English football.
Vertonghen said: “Technically, he’s one of the best players I’ve played with. He can use his right foot and his left foot equally well.”
Spurs are desperate to replace the midfield creativity lost by Luka Modric’s departure to Real Madrid, while landing one of the highest-rated young players in Europe will be further ammunition in the battle to convince Gareth Bale to stay at White Hart Lane.
The club had been monitoring Willian before he agreed a £30m deal to join Anzhi Makhachkala, while Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas retains an interest in Porto midfielder Joao Moutinho but Eriksen remains the cheapest and most attainable option.