Written by Charlie Ellis & Rhys Desmond
Summer 2022 looks set to be one of the most fascinating transfer windows in recent memory, with many clubs finally willing to splash the cash after a rough couple of years with COVID. Not only that, but several big stars are set to become free agents, and many of Europe’s most dominant figures remain hungry for a move. It’s these moves that have, inevitably, taken the bulk of the media’s attention. But for every Sadio Mane, Antonio Rudiger and Robert Lewandowski who may be on the move this summer, there are also several lesser talked about players who could be made available for cheap. We’ve already seen Aston Villa striking for gold in identifying Boubacar Kamara and Diego Carlos as under the radar signings to improve their ranks, but others remain on the market.
So with that, we analyze some of the very best Premier League stars who remain undervalued gems worthy of greater attention this summer. In this article, it’s all about Brentford’s Christian Eriksen.Embed from Getty Images
On Saturday February 26th, the Premier League witnessed one of its most harmonic cheers, heard all across the globe. The day marked the remarkable return of Danish superstar Christian Eriksen, making his debut for Brentford after suffering a heart attack during Euro 2020 for his native Denmark. For Bees fans, it was a momentous occasion. But Eriksen played it cool, almost as though it was just another day at the office.
In spite of the fact Newcastle claimed all three points that day, the road ahead for Brentford was more than a slight incline. In the two and a half months that followed, the Bees lost just two from ten. An unbelievable recovery when considering the existential lows they endured through a large stint at the turn of the year, Eriksen finally allowed the Bees to achieve greater connectivity between their midfield and front lines.Embed from Getty Images
His efficiency from deep, unmatched passing range, and formidable set-piece deliveries perfectly coordinated with Ivan Toney’s ability in the air, bumping the striker up to 12 goals for the season. With an array of hard-working pros and box-to-box engines, the one entity Brentford’s midfield lacked before Eriksen’s arrival was a player with a commanding passing range and La Pausa – a quality that Pep Guardiola so often talks about when describing the best in the world. The Dane’s poise and calming presence on the ball offered Brentford a new dimension to their ferocity in attack, with the Bees climbing all the way up to 13th in the table.
Capable of playing in a midfield three and in a deeper role than first thought when he started to lose his way at Tottenham Hotspur, Eriksen has proven to be a useful Premier League player despite now reaching the age of 30. In a deeper role that required the Dane to facilitate more of the build-up and progression, Eriksen completed a career high in passes into the final third (7.21), key passes (3.08) and crosses into the penalty area (0.77 per 90) for Brentford in 2021-22. Remarkably, following his arrival, his 3.08 key passes trailed only Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne.Embed from Getty Images
But Eriksen’s game continues to evolve into more than just a creative ‘number 10’, and at both Inter Milan and now Brentford he’s proven to be more than capable in shuffling with the play in defensive phases. Perhaps most impressively, Eriksen completed the full 90 minutes in each game following his 38-minute debut. For someone to die on a football pitch and go on to complete such a feat less than a year later is quite incredible, and showcases Eriksen’s lasting durability to compete at the highest level.
Since Christian Eriksen only signed a short-term deal with Brentford, other options for the footballer to see out his career remain on the table. In the Danish midfielder, a Premier League outfit would be signing a proven Premier League talisman, capable of creating chances from both open play and dead-ball scenarios to a higher level than most in the league. So with that, here are the top three destinations for Eriksen to land this summer.
BrentfordEmbed from Getty Images
Having enjoyed such a successful end to the season at Brentford, Christian Eriksen should consider staying on for the project and continuing to work with his compatriot in Thomas Frank. The Bees boast many Danes already in their side, most notably his namesake in Christian Norgaard – who he formed an excellent partnership with in 2021-22. Norgaard provides the defensive gusto and steel in behind, ensuring Eriksen can exude the attacking poise and put his best foot forward in possession.Embed from Getty Images
Thomas Frank may have a difficult task in convincing Eriksen to stay, but the move proved to be a match made in heaven during the 2021-22 campaign. Frank took a chance on his Danish compatriot when no one else would, and for that Eriksen can be grateful of the opportunity to continue in a formidable Premier League outfit and play week in and week out with a pacemaker.
Tottenham HotspurEmbed from Getty Images
Outcasted back in January 2020 during Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham reign, Christian Eriksen could be set for a great return to North London. The Danish midfielder flourished in Antonio Conte’s second season at Inter Milan, playing in a deep-lying-playmaker role as part of a 3-5-2 midfield trio. Tottenham currently play a 3-4-2-1 system, which allows less room for Eriksen to provide magic from midfield. But having Eriksen would still give Tottenham a plethora of options to spice things up, whether it be deploying a third midfielder or providing an extra cutting edge in their double pivot.Embed from Getty Images
Even despite offering the technical talent that neither Bentancur nor Hojbjerg truly possess, it would seem unlikely for Spurs to hand him the playing time he deserves. As a result, Christian Eriksen should be skeptical of a return to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, even if he wants to relive his dreams of playing in the Champions League one last time.
AjaxEmbed from Getty Images
Tottenham may be after his services, but another ex-club could also provide a fun return for Christian Eriksen to end his career. Having made a name for himself at Ajax, the city of Amsterdam would welcome the homecoming of the Dane with open arms. Like Antonio Conte’s Spurs, Ajax typically aren’t afraid of signing older heads making their way out of the Premier League, as demonstrated by the success of Daley Blind, Dusan Tadic, and Davy Klaassen. Eriksen would provide a wonderful edge of experience to the current crop of youth making their way through the famed Dutch side, with his progressive passing and imperious crossing ability standing out among the best in Europe.Embed from Getty Images
One slight hurdle would be the fact that Ajax are well-stocked in the central midfield department. But even then, Eriksen is a nice player to bring in to boost team harmony rather than detract from the common goals, and offers a sense of assist-making and progressive passing that Steven Berghuis would do well to match. It’s certainly a more logical move than Manchester United, the club that Eriksen is currently being linked to.
CONCLUSIONEmbed from Getty Images
Just about every Premier League team should be after the signature of Christian Eriksen this summer, offering the ‘Free Agent’ a chance to shine in England’s top flight once more. While Eriksen may be older and less mobile now than he used to be, he still offers an excellent cutting edge in progressive passing, chance creation, and playmaking from deep. In addition to his unrivalled ability from set-pieces and improved defensive awareness, Christian Eriksen should be on the transfer target list of nearly every club.
So there it is! Why Christian Eriksen remains one of the most undervalued and underrated talents available for cheap in the transfer market this summer. Be sure to comment below if there’s a player you’d like to see analyzed next, and don’t forget to follow on social media @mastermindsite to never miss an update. Thanks for reading and see you soon!
– Written by Charlie Ellis & Rhys Desmond.
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