FOR once — just for once — it is not about the cash.
Christian Eriksen, who wants to live and work in another country, knows a footballer’s career is over in a flash.
3 Christian Eriksen is holding out for his dream move to Real MadridCredit: PA:Empics Sport
During endless rounds of contract negotiations and talks with Tottenham’s top brass, Eriksen has been consistent.
After six years in a Spurs shirt, the 27-old-year Denmark international wants to try something different.
He should be admired for that.
The change of pace, adapting to a new lifestyle and culture, plus the challenge of living and working in another country consumes him.
It is an impressive quality.
Nobody talks about Eriksen holding Tottenham to ransom, with stories generated about interest from clubs all over Europe designed purely to get a better deal out of Daniel Levy.
The Spurs chairman, doing his nut that a depreciating asset is in his first-team squad, has tried everything to persuade him to stay.
In this rare case, money is not doing the talking.
Signed from Ajax for £11.5million in 2013, Eriksen’s true market value would be well over £100m if Tottenham had tied him down to a long-term contract.
The best they can hope for now is around the £60m mark, with the star in the final year of his contract.
Eriksen recognises the enormous potential in North London, that he plays for an ambitious, progressive club under the Levy-Mauricio Pochettino management axis.
Even so, there is life beyond the Premier League and Eriksen is determined to experience it.
The Dane wants to broaden his football education, to become a more rounded player and try out a different approach to the sport at the highest level.
Naturally, Spanish football, with its dreamy tempo and emphasis on skilful types trying to master their art, appeals to him.
Real Madrid, struggling to come up with the cash after some more weighty investment this summer, have asked him to wait a year.
He could sign a pre-contract in January, before heading to the Bernabeu on a free transfer when his deal with Spurs ends after this season.
Eriksen would prefer to go sooner — the Spanish transfer window is open until September 2 — but Spurs are hanging in there in the hope they can make the breakthrough.
It seems unlikely.
Eriksen will sign a five-year contract with his next club, taking him to the grand age of 33 by the time it expires.
He has been a model of consistency at Tottenham, twice winning the Player of the Year in his time there.
The playmaker, with his clever touches around the penalty area setting up Harry Kane for his goalscoring chances, commands respect.
He is a wanted man.
The Italian option has also opened up in recent weeks because serial Serie A champions Juventus would dearly love to work with a player with his skill set.
There is a complicated scenario in the works involving Paulo Dybala, Neymar and Eriksen before that transfer deadline next month.