(Reuters) – Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Christian Eriksen is in contention to start Saturday’s Premier League clash at Manchester City but doubts remain if he will stay at the club beyond the European transfer deadline, manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Friday.
Eriksen, who arrived at Spurs from Ajax Amsterdam in August 2013, has been a pivotal figure in Pochettino’s side that ended runners-up to Liverpool in the Champions League and took fourth place in the league last season.
The 27-year-old, who has a year left on his Spurs contract and previously said he wanted a new challenge, has been linked by the Spanish media with a move to Real Madrid before the European transfer window closes on Sep. 2.
“I don’t know,” Pochettino told a news conference when asked if Eriksen would stay.
“My point is to help all the players, to support all the players until they decide with the club to go a different way with their career, and to show respect to all.
“Sometimes it is difficult to understand outside of football or this club that respect means respect.”
Eriksen, who was a substitute in Tottenham’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa last weekend, has also said he is open to extending his stay at north London if the clubs seeking his signature do not represent a “step up”.
Asked if the Denmark international could start against champions City, Pochettino said: “We’ll see. There are only 11 players who can start.
“I’m happy with the last week with how he’s doing (and) his performance in training. We still have one training session and I’ll decide the starting eleven.
“For me it’s the same between a player who has one year on his contract and one who has five years. The selection is not for the length of the contract, it is for the performance.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)