Eriksen is a shrewd signing for United… but he has a point to prove

Christian Eriksen is a shrewd signing for Man United and will work well under Erik ten Hag… he has a point to prove after a poor end to his Spurs career and mixed fortunes at Inter, while added competition may inspire out-of-sorts Bruno Fernandes

  • Manchester United have officially announced the signing of Christian Eriksen
  • He has signed a three-year deal to become United’s second summer signing 
  • The 30-year-old was exceptional during his short stint at Brentford last season
  • Eriksen is likely to be a squad player but provides United with another option
  • He endured a difficult end to his career at Spurs and struggled at Inter Milan 

The clamour for Manchester United to sign Christian Eriksen gathered pace when Brentford visited Old Trafford in May – and that clamour has now become a reality. 

While the match itself was largely meaningless and had a true end of season feel, Eriksen was arguably the best player on the park – even if his side were soundly beaten by United.

The 30-year-old showed he was still capable of playing at the top level, an incredible feat for someone who had suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Euro 2020, as he demonstrated his vision, wide array of passing and the ability to dictate from the middle of the pitch.

That 90 minutes at Old Trafford was a perfect illustration of his short spell at Brentford, who he joined in January after having his contract terminated at Inter Milan in December.

Manchester United officially announced the signing of Christian Eriksen on Friday afternoon

The midfielder was hugely impressive when Brentford faced United at Old Trafford in May

Eriksen drew admirers not just for the fact he was back playing – a remarkable achievement in itself – but for the way he controlled games for Thomas Frank’s side.

It was no wonder Brentford were desperate to keep him. The Bees offered him a contract to stay in West London, but the Danish star has instead signed for Manchester United and joined Erik ten Hag’s revolution. 

Eriksen on Friday became United’s second signing under the Dutchman after agreeing a three-year contract at Old Trafford until 2025.

He will not be joining the remainder of the club’s pre-season tour of Australia which only has another week to run, and will work on his fitness at Carrington instead.

Here, Sportsmail looks at his potential role at United, how his arrival has been received by the fans and why he may have a point to prove.

Where will Eriksen fit in?

United have been crying out for depth in midfield for years, a need exacerbated by the departures of Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard this summer.

The signing of Eriksen gives the Red Devils another option and adds a touch of class to a much-maligned midfield unit.

The Danish international suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during Euro 2020 last summer

Eriksen signs for United 13 months after collapsing on the pitch while playing for his country 

Eriksen has adapted his game over time, regularly coming deeper to pick up the ball for Brentford and his passing and creativity from those areas will be an asset for United.

The Red Devils will be in the Europa League next season after failing to finish in the top four following a dismal and forgettable end to the campaign and will need all the players they can get to tackle the gruelling European schedule.

Eriksen is likely to be a squad player under Ten Hag, given Bruno Fernandes’ prominence and the possible signing of Frenkie de Jong, but he is a natural fit in the Dutchman’s preferred 4-3-3 formation when called upon. 

He will provide competition to Bruno Fernandes, who perhaps needs to feel his place is under pressure if he is to recapture the form that quickly propelled him to hero status at Old Trafford.

Eriksen will provide much-needed competition to United’s playmaker Bruno Fernandes

On the other hand, Fernandes has shown his petulant side too often for many fans’ liking and there is no guarantee he reacts well to Eriksen joining the club.

It is unlikely that Eriksen will immediately dislodge the Portuguese but Fernandes will be wary that, if he fails to reach his previous heights, the Dane will be waiting to seize his opportunity.

How has the signing been received?

The majority of United fans have reacted positively to the arrival of the Dane.

Smart business and United have rarely gone together in recent years, particularly under the now-departed Ed Woodward, but there is little doubt the move for Eriksen is a shrewd one.

Some have lamented the fact that Eriksen, like so many others who have come through the door at Old Trafford, did not join the club five or 10 years ago.

Danny Murphy (E) insists he would be ‘underwhelmed’ by Eriksen’s (left) signing if he was a United fan

Yet, the overall impression was positive, with one fan writing on Twitter: ‘So happy to have you at Manchester United, Christian. Looking forward to seeing what you can do, and seeing you bring a touch of class to the play.’

Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy was not so sure about the move when the news of a verbal agreement first broke. Murphy said he would be ‘underwhelmed’ if he was a United fan and said the Dane is ‘not world class’.

‘I really like Eriksen, I’ve always admired him in terms of his creativity and the way he plays his football,’ Murphy told talkSPORT.

‘He tries things, he’s good at set-plays, two good feet but would it excite me if I was a United fan? He’s going to be a squad player, isn’t he?

‘He could change a game, yes, that’s fair. He could come off the bench and change a game but is he going to bring United closer to Liverpool and City? Nowhere near it.

‘In the cold light of day, if they want to be competitive against Liverpool, City and Chelsea, or even just Liverpool and City, that’s not the type of signing United should be making.’ 

Why might he have a point to prove?

Eriksen was nicknamed ‘golazo’ for his tendency to score or make an assist at crucial moments and described as being the ‘brain’ of the team by former boss Mauricio Pochettino after his largely successful spell at Spurs.

He became a fan favourite at the club where he made more than 300 appearances but his last season was a difficult one to say the least.

Eriksen endured a difficult end to his Spurs career and was booed by fans for his displays

Eriksen was cast as the villain of the piece towards the end of his time in North London after saying he wanted to leave in the summer of 2019. A protracted saga followed – not of the player’s doing, it must be said – and he did not depart for Inter Milan until six months later.

Spurs fans slowly turned on their once-lauded playmaker and he was booed by sections of the club’s fans in his final three matches for their side.

His desire to embark on a new challenge, coupled with his below-par displays on the pitch, threatened to tarnish his legacy at Spurs but he is still remembered fondly and there are certainly supporters who may have wished he returned rather than sign for United.

The Dane also struggled to make his mark for Inter before they terminated his contract

Eriksen also endured a mixed spell at Inter after finally quitting White Hart Lane. He played 60 matches, scoring eight goals, before his stint in Italy came to a premature end following his cardiac arrest while playing for Denmark against Finland at Euro 2020.

He had struggled to make his mark with the Serie ‘A’ outfit, who were forced to terminate his contract as he would have been prohibited from playing in Italy with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator due to local health regulations.

What made him choose United?

Eriksen had plenty of offers on the table after shining at Brentford, where he scored one goal and made four assists in 11 appearances.

As well as United and Brentford, Everton, Leicester, West Ham and Ajax were all keen on securing his signature, while there were also rumours of interest from Spurs.

Eriksen has become Manchester United’s second signing under new manager Erik ten Hag

While the Dane will accept he may not be first-choice at United, the chance to play for one of the game’s biggest clubs – likely for the last time in his career – was too good to turn down.

As was the chance to work under Ten Hag, with the pair briefly crossing paths when Eriksen was at Ajax, the club Ten Hag left to take up the managerial hotseat at United, from 2010 to 2013.

The fans will now hope he justifies his salary by bringing his Brentford form with him to Old Trafford – for them instead of against them this time.

What has Eriksen said of the move?

In signing for United, Eriksen insists he still has ambitions at the top of the game, detailing a crucial conversation he had with Ten Hag before completing the transfer.  

‘Manchester United is a special club, and I cannot wait to get started,’ he said. ‘I have had the privilege of playing at Old Trafford many times but to do it in the red shirt of United will be an amazing feeling. 

Eriksen insists he still has ambitions at the highest level and a huge amount to achieve

‘I have seen Erik’s work at Ajax and know the level of detail and preparation that he and his staff put into every day. 

‘It is clear that he is a fantastic coach. Having spoken with him and learned more about his vision and the way he wants the team to play, I am even more excited for the future. 

‘I still have major ambitions in the game, there is a huge amount that I know I can achieve, and this is the perfect place to continue my journey.’ 

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