Paul Merson thinks Christian Eriksen is key to Tottenham's chances of finishing in the Premier League's top four this season and says the club must do all they can to keep him in north London.
With just one year left on the Denmark international's contract, Spurs have been prepared to sell Eriksen this summer and there had been talks with Real Madrid and interest from Manchester United in the transfer window.
- Kane's late double rescues Spurs
- Redknapp: Spurs must keep Eriksen
- How to watch Premier League highlights
The midfielder reminded everyone of his talents last Saturday as Mauricio Pochettino's side came from behind to beat Aston Villa 3-1 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Eriksen made three key passes after coming off the bench in the 64th minute as Spurs roared back to win thanks to goals from Tanguy Ndombele and a double from Harry Kane.
Spurs are yet to tie the 27-year-old, who admitted earlier this summer he "would like to try something new", down to a new deal and could yet sell him this month, with the European transfer window open until the end of August.
But Merson, speaking on The Debate, thinks Spurs' chances of Champions League qualification would diminish if Eriksen left the club in the next few weeks.
"I'd go as far as to say that if he went before the transfer window shuts, I'd be surprised if they got into the top four," Merson said.
"I watched them against Aston Villa and they'd run out of ideas. There was nothing really happening for them. Harry Kane wasn't getting any service as Villa kept things compact.
"Eriksen came on and it was a completely different last 25 minutes. He put the ball through the eye of a needle, he played little one-twos and he has vision.
"It was a strange one [not starting him]. You do not want to lose him before the window closes."
Merson went on to say he thinks Spurs will keep hold of Eriksen, for now.
"I think he'll stay at Spurs," he added. "But he'll have a contract sorted out in January to leave on a free next year."
Redknapp: Eriksen makes a difference
Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp was also impressed with Eriksen's influential display in Spurs' win over Villa and thinks his former club must find a way of keeping him at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium beyond the end of his current deal.
"Players like Eriksen are few and far between; someone who can unlock a door, gets on the ball and changes the pace of the game. I was so impressed with him when he came on.
"I really hope Christian Eriksen doesn't leave the Premier League and doesn't leave Tottenham. When he plays, it's like the game stands still.
"Great players always look like they've got time. They see the game in slow motion, and that's what Eriksen does... We've seen that [Tanguy] Ndombele is a powerful player who is going to break through the lines and play little one-twos, but he needs someone who is going to get him the ball quickly, and that's what Eriksen does.
"With [Moussa] Sissoko and [Harry] Winks in there, they're all very good midfield players, but who's going to make that special pass? Who's going to do that David Silva pass or Bernardo Silva pass?
"He's the difference in that team, Eriksen, and they need to find a way to keep him.
"If he wants a bit more money than most players, that's what great players deserve."
Live Premier League
Sky Sports' Adam Bate:
It was new signing Tanguy Ndombele who finally made the breakthrough for Tottenham and it was Harry Kane whose two goals won them the match but there was no missing the fact that it was the introduction of Christian Eriksen that sparked their comeback against Aston Villa. All three goals came after the Dane entered the pitch midway through the second half.
Eriksen dictated things from then on, pushing and probing for the breakthrough. He fired off three shots and created three chances for others - only three Premier League players were involved in that many efforts on goal over the weekend and Eriksen was only on the pitch for 26 minutes. Spurs had more shots in that time than any other team in total.
It is no secret that Eriksen is keen on a new challenge and there have been some attempts to revise opinions in the wake of that. Even though Tottenham reached the Champions League final last term, it was not his strongest campaign. And yet, here was a welcome reminder of his qualities. Perhaps he still has a big role to play. Spurs still need him.
Thought the transfer window was closed? Wrong. Across Europe, plenty of deals are still being done, with Premier League players still able to move to the continent.
The transfer window for Spain's La Liga, Italy's Serie A, Germany's Bundesliga and France's Ligue 1 closes at varying times on Monday September 2. Meanwhile, League One, League Two and Scottish clubs can also do deals until September 2.
Follow our Transfer Centre blog for all the latest news and rumours from the window...