Manchester United have announced the signing of Christian Eriksen on a free transfer. The Danish midfielder joins the Red Devils after a successful 6-month stint with Premier League side Brentford, signing a three-year contract running until 2025.
Christian Eriksen made his professional debut for Ajax as a 17-year-old in the 2009-10 season. The Danish midfielder made 15 appearances in the Dutch league, as the Martin Jol-coached side finished second in the Eredivisie (stats via transfermarkt).
He then went on to win four consecutive league titles with the Dutch club. The Denmark international registered 28 goals and 53 assists across 139 appearances in all league and European competitions. He enjoyed a particularly productive 2012-13 season, notching 10 goals and 13 assists in the Eredivisie. This earned the midfielder a transfer to Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £11 million.
Christian Eriksen enjoyed the best spell of his career at North London. The 30-year-old made 305 appearances across 7 seasons under Mauricio Pochettino. He had 69 goals and 80 assists against his name and formed a lethal attack along with the likes of Harry Kane, Heung-min Son, Dele Alli, Erik Lamela, etc.
During this time, the Spurs were constantly in and around the top-4 spots and even finished in second place behind Chelsea in the 2016-17 Premier League season. They also finished as Runners-up in the 2018-19 edition of the Champions League, losing 2-0 to Liverpool in the finals.
On a personal level, the 30-year-old midfielder was given the “Tottenham Hotspur Player of the Year” award on two occasions: 2013-14 and 2016-17. He was also a part of the 2017-18 PFA Team of the Year.
Failing to clamp down a starting spot under Jose Mourinho, Eriksen sought a move in the 2019-20 January transfer window. The Dane had a contract with the North London side only until 2021, so a transfer seemed sensible for all parties involved.
Inter Milan came calling and landed the Danish midfielder for a fee of £16.9m. Eriksen was given the opportunity to link up with former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, after signing a contract until 2024.
“I’m very excited and can’t wait to introduce myself to the fans. I’ve already experienced their warmth, it’s been a fantastic welcome. I feel great.”
“The numbers say that I did really well in England. It’s now time to start a new challenge, I’m really happy to have the opportunity to play in Serie A for a big team. Inter is a fantastic club.”
However, Eriksen did not enjoy the greatest of spells at Inter Milan. The 30-year-old managed to garner 60 appearances across 1-and-a-half seasons, scoring 8 times and getting 3 assists.
During the Euro 2020, Eriksen collapsed on the field after suffering a cardiac arrest. The Dane was fitted with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator which played a crucial role in his return to football. However, Serie A regulations did not permit a player with an implanted ICD. As a consequence, Eriksen had his contract with the Nerazzurri terminated in December 2021.
Christian Eriksen sealed his return to the Premier League by signing for Brentford on the deadline day of the 2022 winter transfer window. The 30-year-old would become an important part of Thomas Frank’s setup. In 11 games for the Bees, the midfielder went on to register 4 assists and one goal.
Eriksen is a playmaker, often described as a number “10” profile. The 30-year-old Dane also offers a lot of versatility on the field. At Tottenham, Pochettino mainly used Eriksen in the playmaking role behind a striker and alongside 2 wingers. However, the Danish midfielder was also used as a right-winger or in a double pivot as necessary.
At Inter Milan, Antonio Conte mainly used Eriksen in a midfield-3. The former Ajax man played alongside Marcelo Brozovic and Nicolo Barella in the Italian’s 3-5-2. Brozovic acted as the DM and Barella as a box-to-box midfielder. This allowed Eriksen to demonstrate his playmaking capabilities down the left side. Conte also used Eriksen as a “secondary-striker” behind Romelu Lukaku or Lautaro Martinez at times.
Eriksen performed in a similar role for Brentford too. He was mainly used as an interior in a 3-5-2 or 4-3-3 set-up.
Role At United
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has made use of a 4-2-3-1 set-up in his first 3 pre-season games. The Dutchman has deployed Anthony Martial as a “9” ahead of Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford. This structure has reaped rewards, as the Red Devils have scored 11 goals in three matches.
If the Dutch manager continues to make use of a 4-2-3-1, Eriksen will most likely provide squad depth for Bruno Fernandes and the double pivot. The Dane can also play on the flanks if necessary.
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If Ten Hag opts to deploy a three-man midfield, the Dane would automatically benefit. The 30-year-old offers more control and ball-security than Bruno Fernandes from the deeper areas of the field and could work well in such a set-up.
What do you think of Christian Eriksen’s signing? Will he be a regular starter next season? Let us know in the comments.
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