A response to Neville: The reason no 'big' clubs came for Eriksen

Christian Eriksen playing for Denmark at Euro 2012

Tottenham Hotspur's Christian Eriksen was criticised by Gary Neville on Monday night despite not playing at the weekend.

With Tottenham's new signings lambasted as 'average' by the likes of Joey Barton following their 6-0 defeat, Christian Eriksen's name was lobbed into the mix by Sky pundit by Gary Neville while dissecting their performance on Monday night.

To recap, asked if they have anyone able to play the number 10 role, and if Eriksen was the man, he replied: "Possibly. But you've got to ask questions why none of the top European clubs have picked him up over the past few seasons."

Neville's insinuation is that Eriksen is not good enough for a 'top' club, but that isn't to say it is true.

To get a reason why each individual club did not go for the playmaker is one specific clubs can only answer officially themselves, but we have our own theory.

It comes in the form of concern and distrust over the Eredivisie, the top Dutch division in which Eriksen impressed with Ajax.

We have all seen players like Ruud van Nistelrooy and Ronaldo come from the league and tear up European leagues, Luis Suarez is the latest example, but there have been far too many 'flops' to cause major concerns for top sides.

Mateja Kezman at Chelsea, Afonso Alves at Middlesbrough, are two famous examples, but an even more recent one is the way Jozy Altidore dazzled with AZ Alkmaar last season, only to sign for Sunderland - and is yet to score a single Premier League goal a third of the way into the 2013/14 campaign.

Young players like Ryo Miyaichi and John Guidetti have looked like world beaters in the division, but can't get a game for their clubs back in the Premier League.

We ask, when was the last time a 'big club' took a chance on a top Eredivisie performer? Liverpool for the sake of argument don't count as they have not played in the Champions League for three seasons.

United were not convinced enough to go for Kevin Strootman in the summer, a clear error given his form at Roma. The last player they signed from the division was Alex Buttner, a player who is yet to convince.

Arsene Wenger has only ever bought two players from the league in the last decade, Thomas Vermaelen, and 16-year-old Kyle Ebecilio, who has since moved back.

Chelsea clearly see it as more of a feeder league nowadays, as evidenced by their seven players on loan at Vitesse Arnhem. While they bought Marco van Ginkel in the summer, he was the first player signed from there since Salomon Kalou in 2006.

Real Madrid and Barcelona also tend to look elsewhere or inwardly for talent, while Inter Milan's last top prospect bought from the division, Luc Castaignos, is now back with Feyenoord.

That is the reason we believe no big club went for Eriksen, because buying from the Eredivisie is not a habit they usually make. The same reason stopped top clubs gambling on Wilfried Bony in the summer, with Swansea picking him up instead. It's not that we believe it right or wrong, just a perspective on why clubs act like they do.

It is down to Eriksen to perform at Tottenham and make them reconsider, and make Levy and Andre Villas-boas appear shrewd for doing so.

image: © Кирилл Крыжановский

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