Barcelona have reportedly identified Tottenham Hotspur’s Christian Eriksen as the heir for Andres Iniesta, amid reservations from Leo Messi.
Barcelona are eyeing a summer move for Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Christian Eriksen as a replacement for their ageing legend Andres Iniesta, according to a report from Spanish outlet Don Balon.
Iniesta has been at Barcelona since the age of 12 and has enjoyed a glorious career with the Catalans, that has seen him win eight La Liga titles and is also a four-time Champions League winner. However, he will be turning 34 years of age by the time the ongoing season wraps up and is understood to be seriously considering his future.
While the pass maestro has previously claimed that he wants to retire at the Camp Nou, he is reportedly considering moving away from Barcelona in order to finish his career elsewhere.
Despite his age, Iniesta has been a vital part of this Barcelona side under Ernesto Valverde this term and has notched up 33 appearances, contributing with a solitary goal and three assists. And with the uncertainty surrounding his future, the club hierarchy are seeking replacements for the captain in the summer, with Eriksen being at the top of their wish list.
The 26-year old has been a consistent performer for Tottenham over the years and has grown into an integral part of Mauricio Pochettino’s side. In the ongoing campaign, Eriksen has chipped in with 11 goals and 10 assists from 38 games across all competitions, cementing his status as one of the best playmakers around in Europe.
It is not going to be easy for Barcelona to pry the 77-time capped Danish international away from Spurs given how highly he is thought of at the club. Plus the fact that his contract runs till the summer of 2020, does put them in a relatively strong negotiating position.
However, Tottenham have previously shown that they can be open to selling their best players for the right offer and with a new stadium to pay for, a huge bid from Barcelona for Eriksen could make them change their stance.
The report from Don Balon goes on to further claim that while Barcelona remain keen on adding Eriksen to their roster next summer, their talisman Lionel Messi isn’t very keen on the signing.
The Argentine forward is reportedly of the belief that Eriksen is of a very similar profile to that of Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic. Moreover, the club’s leading goalscorer feels that Barcelona have already got the best candidate to replace Iniesta in the form of Philippe Coutinho, whom they signed from Liverpool in January.
And with academy product Carles Alena, who signed a new three-year deal with the club not very long ago, also ready to step up to the first team, Messi sees the signing of Eriksen as redundant.
It remains to be seen how this develops over the coming months, but one does feel that spending a huge sum over Eriksen in the summer, despite already having Coutinho in the ranks to replace the legendary Iniesta may not be the most prudent choice for Barcelona.