Man United will rue failure to sign Eriksen ahead of Brentford clash
Christian Eriksen has been a Man United target THREE times and once had a senior star claiming ‘he should be playing for us’… now back to his best after his career looked over, the brilliant Dane can show his old suitors what they’re missing tonight
- Manchester United face Brentford tonight with Christian Eriksen a dangerman
- The Red Devils have expressed an interest in signing the midfielder in the past
- Eriksen has been superb since returning to England and could hurt United
- He has removed any doubts about his career after comeback from cardiac arrest
Manchester United supporters face a painful reminder of what might have been when they take on Brentford at Old Trafford tonight.
As they attempt to avoid a third defeat in four matches in their final home game of the season, United must try to ensure Christian Eriksen does not have the kind of impact that made him a serious target for the club on three separate occasions.
Eriksen’s form since joining Brentford in January, on a deal until the end of the campaign, has been remarkable. The Bees have won five and drawn one of the six games he has started to move out of the relegation zone and into a comfortable mid-table spot in their first season in the Premier League.
Christian Eriksen will be a huge danger to Man United when Brentford arrive at Old Trafford
His remarkable form for the Bees has eradicated concerns after his cardiac arrest last year – Eriksen is pictured scoring in a victory over Chelsea last month
After he suffered a cardiac arrest while playing for Denmark against Finland last June, there were doubts about whether Eriksen would be able to resume his top-level career. Yet the 30-year-old’s displays at Brentford have removed those concerns and mean a number of clubs are showing interest in signing him on a free transfer for next season.
Eriksen is the sort of player who could knit United’s attacking play together – which is exactly why Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to sign him. During one Tottenham-United game in the last decade, a senior United player remarked ‘He should be playing for us’ after Eriksen had performed particularly well.
Van Gaal had been aware of Eriksen since he joined Ajax as a 16-year-old and during his two years at United from 2014-16, he was desperate to link up with the Dane.
One United player once said Eriksen ‘should be playing for us’ after excelling against them
Eriksen scores against United during a Premier League clash at Wembley back in January, 2018
Jose Mourinho was similarly keen when he was in charge and when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer succeeded the Portuguese, he wanted Eriksen too. Solskjaer had a good relationship with former Denmark coach Age Hareide, who managed Norwegian club Molde in the 1990s when Solskjaer played there, and was convinced Eriksen would improve his team.
On each occasion, United’s attempts were thwarted by Tottenham’s determination not to sell one of their star attackers to a Premier League rival.
Scarred by allowing Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane to join Manchester United and Liverpool respectively in summer 2008, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy changed his approach. Chelsea chased Luka Modric and United wanted Gareth Bale – but both joined Real Madrid. Nothing would have persuaded Levy to sell Harry Kane to Manchester City last summer.
Louis van Gaal (L) and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (R) both wanted him when they were at United
United will see first hand tonight that Eriksen could improve any team in the Premier League
Levy agreed to allow Eriksen to move to Inter Milan in January 2020, when he was six months from the end of his contract – but losing him to an English club would have been a different matter.
The next steps will be fascinating. Erik ten Hag will take over at Old Trafford in the summer and saw Eriksen at close quarters when he trained with Ajax’s youngsters before joining Brentford. The Bees would like to keep him, while Spurs boss Antonio Conte has praised Eriksen’s form this season, after the pair won the Serie A title together at Inter in 2021.
West Ham and Newcastle are also monitoring the situation. Though he was keen to return to London initially, Sportsmail understands Eriksen would have no problem moving to a club in another city.
If Eriksen’s future is uncertain, one thing is beyond doubt: he is a proven Premier League performer and could enhanced most teams in this country. Tonight, the United hierarchy will see that for themselves.
Eriksen smiles after scoring Brentford’s second in their thumping win at London rivals Chelsea
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