Jose Mourinho has revealed Christian Eriksen informed him he would be leaving on the day he started his reign as Tottenham manager.
Eriksen, who signed for Spurs in 2013, ended his stay in north London earlier this week when he signed for Serie A giants Inter. The Denmark midfielder, who made his Inter debut in a 2-1 Coppa Italia win over Fiorentina on Wednesday, refused to sign a new contract at Tottenham and only had six months remaining on his deal.
Mourinho has acknowledged Eriksen was playing like a man without motivation during the last few months of his Tottenham stay, though insisted there were no doubts over the 27-year-old’s professionalism.
“We didn’t tell because of a moral agreement with Christian, but from the first day I arrived [last November], he told me he was not going to sign,” Mourinho, whose side face Manchester City on Sunday, told reporters.
“So then it was for me and Mr Levy to manage the situation – for me to have a player without great motivation but still a good sense of professionalism and respect for the club and Mr Levy, on the business side, managed to do a great deal with six months left on the contract.
“I tried to persuade Toby [Alderweireld] when Toby told me he was having some doubts [about re-signing] but Christian told me the decision was made and no way.
“From that moment, I was just trying to build the team without him. That was the reason why I didn’t play him many, many times. At the same time, I knew Christian with some limitations – there are always limitations with a player in his situation – would try until his last day to help the team.
“Christian was a good guy in the dressing room, with the limitations of somebody that wants to leave”. You could feel in some matches he was not Christian.
We were happy to have him here until the end of the season. Christian would always give us some of his talents until the end of the season. But then it becomes about the future of the team and the future of the team needs the deal that Mr Levy made.”
Spurs reinvested the funds received from Eriksen’s sale into signing Netherlands international Steven Bergwijn from PSV, while Gedson Fernandes came in on an 18-month loan from Benfica earlier in the window.
“However, the club who also allowed Danny Rose to leave on loan to Newcastle United reportedly failed in a late bid to bring in striker Eran Zahavi from Guangzhou R&F to help ease the strain caused by Harry Kane’s hamstring injury.