Antonio Conte may hand Christian Eriksen an Inter Milan reprieve – by making him his new Andrea Pirlo.
The Dane has struggled since moving to San Siro from Spurs last year and has been linked with a return to North London this month.
Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta revealed he had been placed on the transfer list before the mid-season break.
But selling a player who cost £16million and turns 29 next month is problematic for the Nerazzurri in the current market.
And for a multitude of reasons, not least Jose Mourinho's indifference to a reunion, an Eriksen transfer back to Tottenham appears unlikely.
Denmark international Eriksen has started just four Serie A games this season.
But Conte handed the Dane a start at the base of midfield in Inter’s Coppa Italia win over Fiorentina in midweek, with Eriksen influential in their extra-time success.
He won possession back more often than any of his teammates and completed more passes in the opposition half than any other player on the pitch.
Now Conte is preparing to give Eriksen more frequent minutes in the new role – the same position where Italy icon Pirlo was given a new lease of live at Juventus when joining from AC Milan on a free transfer 11 years ago.
"We must get the best out of our squad," declared Conte ahead of Sunday night’s Derby Della Italia against his former club.
"It is inevitable to have him [Eriksen] behind Brozo [Marcelo Brozovic] because we do not have this kind of player in the squad, who can be a playmaker in front of the defensive line.
"We are trying to get the best of Christian in that position, even if he played both as an attacking and an inside midfielder already.
"It is good for the team and myself having the opportunity to use him in different roles in the midfield."
The switch may well offer a reprieve to Eriksen, who is desperate for more regular minutes, even though Croatia international Brozovic remains first choice at present.
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