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.
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.
Neymar leaving Paris Saint- Germain for Barcelona or Real Madrid, PSG signing Dybala as a replacement, opening up a spot at Juventus for Eriksen seems improbable.
Even so, Eriksen’s status at the top table means his name is always in these conversations.
He seems unaffected, continuing to be picked by Poch as Spurs try to work out who will be a worthy long-term successor to their talented No 23.
His is a big shirt to fill.
Eriksen is a top player, easy on the eye when the ball is at his feet and when he is drifting past opponents with those razor sharp turns.
He has earned the right to try something else, to play for another top European club while he is still in his prime.
It does not suit Spurs to watch him leave for nothing but at least there is more to this transfer than money.
That certainly makes a change.
Javi has a hangover
JAVI GRACIA did a pretty decent job at Watford last season but the 6-0 tonking by Manchester City in the FA Cup final takes time to recover from.
Although pre-season was mixed, the Hornets have lost their opening two Premier League games — 3-0 at home to Brighton followed by a 1-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.
They play West Ham at home tomorrow and boss Gracia needs to put that walloping at Wembley firmly behind them with a decent result.
Still sturs the blood
BRENDAN RODGERS and Roy Hodgson worked closely enough with Daniel Sturridge to refer to him as a “world-class” talent.
Now Trabzonspor, who were fourth in Turkey’s Super Lig last season, will benefit from that whenever the 29-year-old is fit to play over the next three years.
The former Liverpool ace — who finished the season holding aloft the Champions League trophy in Madrid — goes down as an unfulfilled talent.
On his day, striker Sturridge could be a world-beater but England never quite got the best out of him.
Scott Ful of talent
SCOTT PARKER has firm ideas on the way he wants Fulham to play their way back into the Premier League.
His fluid 4-3-3 quickly got to grips with Millwall on Wednesday — in a 4-0 dismantling that raised the bar for playing football in the Championship at such a high tempo.
Parker, 38, was dealt a pretty tough hand last season.
He replaced Italian Claudio Ranieri when Fulham were already hurtling towards the trap door.
He quietly rebuilt over the summer, shaping and moulding the squad in a way that suits his ideas on the type of football he wants to watch.
With three league wins out of four this season, the former England and Fulham midfield man is now starting to make his mark as a manager in West London.