There have been quite a lot of discussions on Christian Eriksen and whether or not he’s living up to his potential, but there’s no doubt that he’s one of the more coveted young players in Europe, with Liverpool looking like a very interested party in obtaining his services.
He’s only 20, turning 21 in four months, and already the best player on an Ajaz side for the last couple of seasons. In fact, since Luis Suarez left in early 2o11, Eriksen and Ajax have been thriving, winning two consecutive league titles, which hasn’t happened since the Van Gaal days in the 1990’s.
The Liverpool link? Not an actual offer, but more like discussing business through the media, complementing the Denmark international for his abilities and somewhat hinting at the potential for him to become the next attacking midfielder of the club instead of a fading away Steven Gerrard.
Is Eriksen the man to get right now? Probably not. Still inconsistent in his contribution on the pitch, like everyone saw during the summer in the Euro, although he didn’t have much around him. With Ajax, consistency is much less of a problem. Eriksen has scored 15 goals and provided 31 assists since the beginning of the 2010-2011 season, which obviously draws fair and unfair comparisons.
Fair? References to former Ajax players in the same position, like Rafael Van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder. Unfair? Lionel Messi, which is about the worst thing anyone can do to any player at the moment. Because of some actually expecting him to be Messi (who didn’t conquer the world from the first moment he played football), there’s this perception some accept that Eriksen is a ruined player, a bust.
It’s nice that I’m compared with someone like Messi, but I don’t think the comparison is about us as people – it’s more the roles we play. I actually don’t even know why Messi is the one they say. It’s not the most obvious comparison even in terms of where we play.
You have some big shoes to fill. People judge you – ‘He’s not like Wesley Sneijder was’ or ‘He’s not doing the things Rafael van der Vaart was’. No, I’m not – I’m Christian Eriksen, and that is who I will always be.
The Liverpool connection? Eriksen called it special, but there’s not enough to it at the moment. Anyway, it all depends on where Ajax are going next summer. Maybe another league title will convince him to stay, because there’s something being built with Frank de Boer, despite the financial disadvantage compared with bigger European clubs. Eriksen, uncharacteristically to football stars, might actually prefer to be part of that than leave for bigger money and glory.