A reunion with Conte and a romantic return to Spurs, Ten Hag’s new creative dynamo at Man United or a hugely popular new contract at Brentford… Where will Christian Eriksen end up during the summer window as the Danish star weighs up his options?
- Christian Eriksen was once again influential for Brentford at the weekend
- He played a role in two of their goals in 3-0 home victory over Southampton
- The Danish midfielder, 30, is certain to be in demand when the window opens
- He has been linked with a return to his former club Tottenham under Conte
- Manchester United have also been mentioned as Erik ten Hag plans rebuild
- Leicester have also been linked, with an extended Brentford deal another option
Even with a performance his manager described as ‘only average’, Christian Eriksen was still the difference-maker for Brentford.
The Danish star was below his mercurial best but still the most influential figure on the pitch as the Bees easily beat Southampton 3-0 on Saturday, removing any lingering prospect of relegation from the Premier League.
It was Eriksen whose brilliant corner picked out Ivan Toney’s chest in the lead-up to Pontus Jansson’s early opener.
Christian Eriksen has proved a revelation for Brentford after they restarted his career
The Dane is enjoying his football and playing an influential role for the Premier League club
And it was Eriksen whose driving run a minute later prompted the advantage from referee Michael Salisbury that saw Yoane Wissa net Brentford’s second. That touch from the floor was marked down as an assist, his third since arriving.
That was supposedly an off-day for the midfielder, yet Eriksen’s off days are still superior than those of most Premier League players.
So a giant charm offensive to convince Eriksen to stay for next season began at the Brentford Community Stadium.
No 21 shirts have been selling in record numbers, kids hold up cardboard signs begging for Eriksen’s jersey and the Brentford fans chanted ‘we want you to stay.’
Eriksen shocked the football world when he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch at the Euros
The midfielder has been able to return to club and international football in the months since
After Saturday’s win, captain Jansson said: ‘He has made a huge difference with what he has done in the last three months, it’s been unbelievable. Hopefully he stays.
‘He’s a world class player, of course we want him to continue to play for us.’
The trouble is, while Brentford have restarted Eriksen’s career following his cardiac arrest at the Euros last summer, he won’t be short of enticing offers in the transfer window.
Eriksen, 30, has already been linked with several other Premier League clubs ahead of the summer window. But which, if any, would be the best fit for him?
The romantic option – a return to the club he played seven distinguished seasons for between 2013 and 2020.
Eriksen was twice Tottenham’s player of the year, made the PFA team of the year in 2017-18 and helped them reach the 2019 Champions League final. He’d certainly be welcomed back with open arms.
It is clear from nine games in Brentford colours that Eriksen can still cut it in the Premier League and could play for a top six club who are also competing in Europe.
Spurs could yet be in the Champions League if they can overhaul the four-point deficit to Arsenal just above them in fourth – they meet on Thursday night – but the Europa League is probably more likely.
Eriksen spent seven seasons with Tottenham up until 2020 and has been linked with a return
Eriksen would be getting a return ticket to European competition either way and there’s the added bonus of a reunion with Antonio Conte, who was his manager at Inter Milan in 2020-21 when they won the Serie A title.
They’re certainly a good match with Eriksen’s advanced central midfield position handy for Conte whether he plays a 3-4-3 or a 3-5-2 formation.
Eriksen’s ability to pick a killer pass and also improvise something special would also help Conte to overcome accusations that his brand of football, especially in big games, is too conservative.
It would see Eriksen reunited with Antonio Conte, who was his coach at Inter Milan in 2020-21
We could almost see a forward line diamond with Harry Kane leading the line, Son Heung-min on the left and Dejan Kulusevski, if they can buy the Juventus loanee, on the right and Eriksen in behind.
Or Conte could go double Dane in midfield with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg acting as the covering midfielder to allow Eriksen to roam forwards.
In matches that required it, Conte could play a 3-5-2 with two holding midfielders offering the foil for Eriksen.
Given that Spurs have basically missed an Eriksen-type creative player since he left in 2020 – not least when it comes to set-pieces – it would be ironic if Eriksen himself returns to fill the void.
Since Fabio Paratici has come in, Spurs’ recruitment has been largely very good and bringing back Eriksen could be the man to take them back into the top four if they are willing to take a gamble on someone who’s already 30.
Eriksen shakes hand with Tottenham striker Harry Kane after the two sides played last month
Eriksen has also been linked with a move to Man United, who are just below Spurs in the table and will either be in the Europa League or Europa Conference League next season.
With Erik ten Hag needing to completely overhaul a team that has been woefully under-performing for several months now, maybe Eriksen will appeal to him, especially on a free transfer.
Eriksen did break through at Ajax, albeit several years before Ten Hag became coach, so is at least imbued with some of the traits the new United coach will be looking to instil at Old Trafford.
Erik ten Hag is planning a major rebuild when he takes over as Manchester United manager
Despite their expensively-assembled squad, United have struggled for inspiration in breaking down certain opponents this season, something that quickly leads to sulking and negative body language on the field.
Bruno Fernandes hasn’t been as effective in the No 10 role this season but perhaps Eriksen could form an effective creative pairing with him given Ten Hag often likes to play with two No 8-style players in midfield.
It would be bad news for Donny van de Beek if he hoped to break back into the United team but Eriksen certainly represents an upgrade.
Eriksen in action at Old Trafford last week – could he play there more regularly next season?
United have also struggled with their set-pieces, especially corners. When Harry Maguire netted from a corner against Leeds in February, it was United’s first in 138 kicks going back nearly 12 months.
With Eriksen supplying better crosses, maybe they could utilise the aerial power of Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo a little better.
But the reality of United’s situation is that they aren’t as attractive a proposition for players in the market as they were a decade ago. They don’t have Champions League football to offer.
They would be able to pay Eriksen a handsome salary but it all depends on his ambitions during the second half of his career.
Eriksen’s set-piece deliveries could aid Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and Harry Maguire (right)
Eriksen has also been linked with a move to Leicester, who are in need of a spark following what has been an underwhelming season.
Last year’s FA Cup winners are on course for a finish around 13th or 14th in the table and went out to Roma in the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League.
Consequently, they won’t be in Europe next season and you imagine that given Eriksen has been given this second chance in his career, he would want to be in the Europa League at least.
Youri Tielemans could be on his way out of Leicester, creating a potential vacancy for Eriksen
Someone like Eriksen could rejuvenate Rodgers’ team after an underwhelming season
With Youri Tielemans heavily linked with a move to Arsenal this summer, Leicester may well have a vacancy in Eriksen’s position and he’d be a good midfield partner and mentor for 23-year-old Keirnan Dewsbury-Hall.
Eriksen would be the ideal signing this summer if Brendan Rodgers is to build another winning side at the King Power Stadium but the lure of European football elsewhere will surely prove too tempting.
Or why not remain in west London? After all, Thomas Frank and all at Brentford took a punt on Eriksen back in January when he wasn’t permitted to play his football in Serie A because of the cardioverter-defibrillator he had implanted.
It’s clear to see that Eriksen enjoys playing under his compatriot and alongside fellow Danes like Christian Norgaard and Mathias Jensen in a team that has done brilliantly in their first Premier League campaign.
Eriksen is clearly enjoying his time with Brentford and may be persuaded to stay
He is clearly adored at Brentford, adding a sprinkling of star dust, and signing a contract extension would really help the side in what could be a more difficult second season in the top-flight.
Brentford have never really looked in genuine relegation danger this season and have bloodied the nose of quite a few big sides.
But, as Sheffield United, Leeds and others have discovered, it doesn’t take long to get worked out by everyone else at the top level.
Eriksen could help them avoid being dragged down into that relegation fight next time around if he maintains his steady stream of assists and important interventions.
Bees boss Thomas Frank pulled off a masterstroke in persuading his fellow Dane to join
No doubt other interested parties will emerge. No doubt moneybags Newcastle will be linked with him at some point. Tempting offers may come from abroad.
Eriksen will want to take full advantage of this second chance in his career by playing at the highest level possible and also play himself into good form ahead of the World Cup.
He returned to the Denmark fold in March against Holland and Serbia in friendlies, scoring in both games just nine months on from his cardiac arrest on the pitch.
It seems pretty much certain Eriksen will be picked for November’s finals in Qatar.
All of these considerations will doubtless be swirling around his mind as he ponders over his options ahead of the summer window.
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