Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen is a "clear alternative" to Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho for Barcelona, according to reports in Spain. However, the Blaugrana see a potential transfer for the Denmark international as almost impossible due to the importance in which he is held by Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino and Daniel Levy, who is known for being a tough negotiator.

Eriksen was the star of the international break after he scored a wondrous hat-trick to send his country through to the 2018 World Cup in Russia at the expense of the Republic of Ireland, who were soundly thrashed 5-1 at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday (14 November).

The much-admired Dane has been in phenomenal form for both club and country over the past 12 months. His exploits have not gone unnoticed by Barcelona, who have sent technical director Robert Fernandez to scout the former Ajax star on a number of occasions, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Fernandez, who was heavily involved in Barcelona's unsuccessful summer pursuit of Liverpool's Coutinho, was said to be present during Tottenham's 3-1 win over Real Madrid last month. He was apparently keeping a keen eye out for Eriksen, who recently praised manager Mauricio Pochettino for bringing stability to north London.

Eriksen's contract with Tottenham expires in the summer of 2020, and while he is settled and happy under Pochettino he did recently admit he would find it hard to turn down a move to Barcelona, though he didn't have the best time on trial at the Nou Camp.

"I still have a contract with Tottenham for a few more years," Eirksen told Ekstra Bladet. "There are always rumours about footballers.

"I was there at one point, and it was not very good. Barcelona are a great club. I don't think there are many who say no to Barcelona. In the future I see myself at the highest level. That's what I dream about.

"It can be about two to three years. It may be in another club or it could be Tottenham if we have come all the way up."

Barca may be encouraged by Eriksen's apparent willingness to move to Catalonia, but Tottenham chairman Levy is known to squeeze every penny he can out of potential deals, as evidenced by his negotiations with Real Madrid for Gareth Bale and Luka Modric. He reportedly demanded a fee of €225m for Eriksen in the summer, using Neymar's transfer to Paris Saint-Germain as the reasoning behind the number.

Eriksen may well search for a move to one of Europe's elite clubs in the summer, but his immediate focus rests on Tottenham's clash with arch-rivals Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium on Saturday (18 November). It's been seven years since Spurs last left Arsenal's home turf with three points, but they will be doing all they can to end that run and move seven points clear of Arsene Wenger's men at the weekend.

Christian Eriksen
Eriksen is one of Europe's most lauded playmakers. Getty