It seems as though Tottenham and Inter are locked in talks for Christian Eriksen. The nerazzurri are trying to seal the deal for the January transfer window, but their attempts could also lead them to sign him this month. But as Gianluca Di Marzio says, they are ready to offer Matias Vecino in a potential swap deal for the Dane.
While swap deals are certainly ambitious- especially mega ones like this. But the willingness of Eriksen to leave could be key to make it a swift deal. More than that, both the players fit the bill for their next potential clubs. Both Spurs and Inter will be getting the sort of players that they need.
The issue for both sides is the same currently. There is an evident lack of depth in midfield Inter have seen Nicolo Barella and Stefano Sensi have injury issues, with Sensi having succumbed to the same injury twice. Barella is back, but he isn’t exactly the sort of player that Sensi is. In their absence, Inter were left to field Borja Valero and Roberto Gagliardini midfield.
Antonio Conte has raging about the lack of depth in midfield after their recent loss to Borussia Dortmund. He said (via FootballItalia): “We are in an emergency situation with only three players injured, whereas other teams have injuries and don’t even notice. We notice.
“We are talking about a group of players who, apart from Godin, haven’t won anything. It’s difficult then to deal with a tough situation.”
Vecino hasn’t exactly been Antonio Conte’s first-choice this season. The 3-5-2 shape sees Marcelo Brozovic play as the deepest midfielder, with Barella playing a preferred box-to-box role. Sensi, who was an anchor-man at Sassuolo, has been doing very well in the advanced midfield role.
Injury issues to the Inter midfield have seen Vecino play 14 times in Serie A, making three appearances in the Champions League. He has never been the most creative midfielder, but he can be a grafter. The Uruguayan is more of a box-to-box midfielder, even though Conte has used him slightly further forward.
In the Serie A, he has won 1.9 tackles per game, making 1 interception per game. In the Champions League, both of his numbers stand at 2.3. He has completed only 0.2 dribbles per game in the league, playing 0.8 key-passes per game. That is pretty much a definition of what sort of player he is.
He isn’t the playmaker. He can win the ball back and play simple passes around. He likes to keep play ticking, having played 25.8 passes per game. Instead of playing through-balls, he keeps his passing simple.
For a manager like Jose Mourinho, Vecino can be an important player. Like he was for Luciano Spalletti before Conte came. He can win the ball back and work his socks off for the manager. With Moussa Sissoko out for Spurs until April, he adds an extra number. Tanguy Ndombele’s fitness issues constantly troubling the club, Vecino can make up for him too.
While Vecino can do the job of being the all-action midfielder that Mourinho needs in the three in midfield, Eriksen can do a different job for Inter.
The advanced midfield position is Eriksen’s best spot. He’s made a name for himself in that position and was impressive for Spurs last season. He does get criticism for a lack of work rate in recent days and inability to clear the first man from set-pieces. But he had a tally of eight goals and 12 assists in the Premier League last season.
He had a tally of 2.1 key passes per game. In the 2017-18 and 2016-17 season, these numbers were at 2.6 and 3.3. Even this season, he’s had a couple of very good games for Spurs. He’s been controlling games from midfield. He was Spurs’ game-changer against Olympiacos, playing well against Norwich.
Against the Greek side, Eriksen came on around the first 30 minutes. Spurs were 2-0 down and went onto win 4-2. Eriksen came up with three key passes, bringing a real sense of calm to midfield. Against Norwich, he drew Spurs level with a free-kick, playing the most number of passes- 83. Playing in the controlling role from deeper midfield, he also had two key passes to his name.
Having him will allow Inter to use Sensi in his preferred deeper role. Eriksen isn’t the ball-winner that Barella is. Neither can he play deep like Brozovic does. But he brings the control to the plate that Sensi had when he was fit and firing. He can be the driving force in midfield- like Paul Pogba was for Conte during his time at Juventus.
Inter are losing a midfielder to get another one. But they’re potentially improving quality too. In his rant after the Dortmund loss, Conte was clear about a lack of quality too. They’re getting that in Eriksen. And Spurs are desperate for a midfield signing. Vecino is a reliable player. Mourinho will love working with him.