Christian Eriksen could be Liverpool’s Gerrard replacement
Liverpool look set to continue their evolution towards being the passing-side of Brendan Rodgers’ Utopian dreams as they attempt to acquire crafty Ajax creative Christian Eriksen and the Reds’ continued search for a player of his ilk is indicative of a club coming to terms with the slow phasing out of a legend.
The Sun have reported that at the age of 33, revered skipper Steven Gerrard is in discussions to sign his final contract at the club where he has spent his entire career. It’s thought that the new deal will run until 2015, at which point it would be highly likely he would retire.
Gerrard has long led by example for the Reds, with an immense ability to make things happen in the final third of the pitch when all those around him have run out of ideas.
The Anfield idol had another strong season in 2012/13 – contributing nine goals and as many assists in 36 starts – and whilst replacing him is not an instantly pressing issue, it’s clear that Rodgers is looking to the future with regards to the attacking midfield playmaking role at Liverpool.
Throughout the summer the club had shared an interest in Eriksen and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (formerly of Shakhtar Donetsk) with Borussia Dortmund and since the Bundesliga boys beat them to the signing of the Armenian, their competition for the Ajax man’s signature has been diluted.
The 21-year-old Dane has risen through the Amsterdam club’s famous academy, making his debut just before his 18th birthday, becoming the youngest international his country had seen since Michael Laudrup a month later.
It seems his current employers would not stand in the way of Eriksen – who has already amassed 109 league appearances and 23 goals for Ajax – making the move to Anfield, after manager Frank De Boer said the Dane should make the move if he wants to.
Oddly for a side managed by Rodgers, De Boer – according to The Mirror – added the caveat that “If Liverpool go back to really good possession play, it (the move) can be a success for Christian, but it does mean that their entire way of playing has to change”.
The former Netherlands international’s assertion may not be massively flattering to the Reds, but by the same token it stresses the way in which Eriksen could be a key figure in their transition towards a more full embodiment of the philosophy the Northern Irishman had implemented at Swansea.
Liverpool have already acquired several new players since the start of the transfer window and they are now shorter than Tottenham and rivals Everton in the Premier League top six betting at 1/4.