Jan Vertonghen says he is “hopeful” Christian Eriksen will stay at Tottenham Hotspur this summer amid suggestions he could leave the club.
Eriksen has admitted he may seek a new challenge as speculation about interest from Real Madrid intensifies.
The Dane has just one year left on his contract, so Spurs might have to sell to avoid losing him on a free transfer next summer.
And Vertonghen, who played with Eriksen at Ajax before the pair joined Tottenham, hopes his teammate remains in north London next season.
“Obviously when the transfer window starts there are a lot rumours, but there were rumours last year and everyone stayed together, so I’m hopeful,” Vertonghen told Sky Sports.
“Christian is a great player. I have known him since he was 16, played with him since he was 16 or 17 [at Ajax] and I hope he’s with Tottenham next season. He’s an exceptional player.”
Vertonghen confessed he was happy to go off on international duty this week in order to “switch off” from the Champions League final defeat to Liverpool.
He added: “Obviously it was a big defeat. I wanted to win that game but only one team can win and at the end Liverpool played well.
“But I was happy I was able to come here [to play with Belgium] to switch off from that loss and focus on the national team.”
Eriksen also played for his country on Monday, scoring a penalty in Denmark’s 5-1 victory over Georgia in a Euro 2020 qualifier.
Real Madrid have already signed Eden Hazard and are now said to be interested in Paul Pogba, leading to suggestions they may not be able to afford Eriksen.
In that case, there is still a chance the 27-year-old will stay at Spurs.