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Unionjack

Christian Eriksen

Started by Unionjack,

27 posts in this topic

One of the best in his position in the PL. If we can do it, why not? I was still surprised we didnt eye him up after he left Ajax. 11m quid he cost.

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9 minutes ago, MoroccanBlue said:

No one better other than KDB currently. 

Can we buy/afford KDB -nah!

Is there the slightest chance we could sign Eriksen - yeah!

If we told him the same stuff that Bayern and RM are telling our lads it might sink into his head/ Specially as he is at home in London and not wanting to move etc. It would be great in many ways to go hard for him.

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10 hours ago, Unionjack said:

Can we buy/afford KDB -nah!

Is there the slightest chance we could sign Eriksen - yeah!

If we told him the same stuff that Bayern and RM are telling our lads it might sink into his head/ Specially as he is at home in London and not wanting to move etc. It would be great in many ways to go hard for him.

he would be MASSIVE in Sarriball, and I would love to fuck over Spuds

Real supposedly have dropped interest

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Eriksen is revitalised at Conte’s Inter. His best position? ‘Where the ball is’

https://theathletic.com/1890243/2020/06/25/eriksen-is-revitalised-at-contes-inter-his-best-position-where-the-ball-is/

eriksen-inter-scaled-e1593008982496-1024x683.jpg

Christian Eriksen stood on his chair and began to sing. He held a napkin in one hand and with the other tried to pump the crowd up. “Today is gonna be the day that they’re gonna throw it back to you.” Romelu Lukaku turned to Ashley Young, incredulous. “Are you serious?” he laughed.

As the rest of the party banged the table in time to Eriksen’s lyrical flow, the Manchester United old boys playfully feigned disdain. Join in and recite the lyrics to Wonderwall, an anthem played at the Etihad in recognition of the Gallagher brothers and their support for Manchester City? Not a chance. Alexis Sanchez smiled politely but the Chilean was probably thinking about his labradors Atom and Humber.

Eriksen had been unveiled only a few days earlier at the Scala, Milan’s world-famous opera house, upon completing his €20 million move from Tottenham to Inter. But Lukaku and Young weren’t about to throw roses at his feet and demand an encore of that performance. Young chose Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds for his initiation song. Fellow January signing Victor Moses fell back on the Skepta number he banged out during the same ritual at Chelsea. Neutral stuff. Nothing from the City songbook.

When the pandemic hit later that month and the hotel Inter put new signings up in near San Siro closed, Eriksen, still looking for an apartment at the time, needed a place to stay. He entertained the idea of moving in with Lukaku or Young… but he could forget about it after singing Oasis. All jokes aside, Eriksen has settled in well at Inter and the strong Premier League contingent, as well as the presence of other English speakers like Stefan de Vrij and coach Antonio Conte, have helped in that regard. After his hotel closed, he dormed at Inter’s training ground with the team chef and a few other members of staff until he found a home of his own. The Dane probably already knows Appiano Gentile, as well as the club’s most capped player and current vice-president Javier Zanetti.

Signing for Inter brought an end to 18 months of deliberating on the next chapter of his career. Mauricio Pochettino flew to see Eriksen in Copenhagen before committing to an extension of his own contract in 2018 to find out whether the playmaker, then so integral to his team, intended to do the same. Eriksen informed him he didn’t. After five years in London, he desired a new challenge elsewhere but, just as other Spurs players have found over the years, leaving Tottenham can be a bit like checking out of the Hotel California. Such a lovely place but if you’re under contract, as Eriksen was until the end of June 2020 you aren’t going anywhere unless the chairman Daniel Levy ensures the club gets paid in full.

After going public with his intention to leave last summer, Eriksen believed he wouldn’t be a Tottenham player this season. Paulo Dybala then Bruno Fernandes were lined up to replace him. Dominoes ready to fall. But either the destinations didn’t appeal to him or the offers failed to meet Spurs’ asking price. Eriksen ended up staying.

Inter, meanwhile, had other priorities and no budget to buy him at the time.

Eriksen Tottenham Inter

When the Nerazzuri played Spurs in the International Champions Cup at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in early August, they had already broken their transfer record for one midfielder (Nicolo Barella) and were about to smash it again for Romelu Lukaku. The Athletic understands exploratory talks about making Eriksen an Inter player only began in mid-November when club officials met his representatives in London.

It was around this time that Inter went to Dortmund for a Champions League game, led 2-0 at half-time, and then, as in Barcelona, lost the game after the interval. Conte despaired at full-time and vented to the media. Despite a net transfer spend of €108 million and the wage bill climbing 20 per cent over the summer, he felt the club hadn’t done enough to equip the team with enough alternatives to vary Inter’s play, not to mention sustain the intensity he demanded over 90 minutes. Here’s why Conte is known in Italy as a “martello”: a hammer that never stops clobbering away until he gets what he wants.

Nevertheless, discussions about signing Eriksen were relaxed. There didn’t appear to be any rush. Inter have followed Juventus’ strategy in recent years of monitoring opportunities in free agency with mixed results; Nemanja Vidic flopped, Stefan de Vrij has been a hit, Diego Godin less so. Eriksen looked like he might be the next one but the situation escalated through December.

Lacking a spark in midfield after Stefano Sensi’s injury in the Derby d’Italia, as well as support for Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez following Sanchez’s ankle twist while on international duty, Inter intensified their interest, particularly as it became clear the uncertainty over Ernesto Valverde’s future at Barcelona, his dismissal and the appointment of Quique Setien as his replacement all but ended the prospects of Conte reuniting with Arturo Vidal, the player he said he would go to war with when they were at Juventus.

Slowing down as Christmas approached, a fatigued Inter urgently needed freshening up if they were to remain in contention for honours this season. They were drawing too many games and as their tempo faded, opponents found them too predictable. Negotiations to sign Eriksen in January began in earnest and an opening bid of €10 million was lodged but Tottenham stood firm and were able to leverage Inter and Conte’s desire to stay in the title race. They got double that for a player who, come February 1, would have been able to sign for the Nerazzurri for free in the summer. Given the circumstances, it was excellent business for Spurs, although Inter also came away thinking they got a good deal and celebrated over a fish supper with Eriksen’s agent at Risacca Blu, a seafood restaurant not far from their offices.

As Eriksen said his goodbyes at Spurs, his manager Jose Mourinho recommended he rent his old place from the time he spent in charge at Inter. Fifteen years after Eriksen had flown to Italy to undergo a trial with AC Milan, he returned to great fanfare and signed for their rivals instead. Still, it wasn’t immediately obvious where the 29-year-old would fit in at Inter. In terms of his skill set, he bears little to no resemblance to Vidal and, despite Conte’s insistence that there was a precise plan for Eriksen, the role of a No 10 does not exist in his favoured 3-5-2 scheme, which is one of the reasons why Dejan Kulusevski chose to join Juventus over them.

In time, though, we may come to look back on Eriksen’s signing as the beginning of another phase in the tactical evolution of one of this generation’s great coaching minds. Conte has never really had a player like him before and how he integrates Eriksen into his schemes is a source of some fascination. Pleasantly surprised by the physical condition Eriksen arrived in, Conte threw him in at the deep end for his first league start against Udinese — a few days after a cameo off the bench against Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia — where he started at the tip of a midfield triangle with Barella and Matias Vecino at its base.

In Sensi’s absence, Eriksen has played on the left of that triumvirate too, pushing up between the lines to link up with Lautaro and Lukaku when and where appropriate. Against Lazio, he played in front of the defence, alla Pirlo, as a substitute for the team’s deep-lying playmaker Marcelo Brozovic. But aside from the moment he struck the bar from a free-kick in the Milan derby, his only meaningful display before the pandemic stopped play came away to Ludogorets in the Europa League when he scored his first goal and clanged another shot off the woodwork.

His impact wasn’t instant in the way another former Ajax playmaker’s was in 2009, when Wesley Sneijder joined from Real Madrid and, days later, gave a glittering debut performance in the Derby della Madonnina that still gets talked about to this day. Though still early days, the flashes that sparked from Inter’s January signings failed to reignite their season and morale-denting defeats to Lazio and Juventus on the eve of lockdown left them nine points off the top (albeit with a game in hand), their title ambitions apparently hanging by a thread. Conte is not the kind of guy to go down without a fight though and his experience of a compressed pre-season from his time preparing Italy for Euro 2016 has undoubtedly come in handy. Sources close to Inter marvel at his ability to get detailed concepts across in double-quick time.

Eriksen himself told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “In my last few months at Tottenham, they told me: ‘Go out and try to make something happen’. It’s not like that here. Conte was immediately very direct with me. He told me where he sees me on the pitch and what he wants from me with and without the ball. It’s all a lot more organised. And yes, the training is hard, but I’m ready.”

Despite only being able to work out in the basement of his new home during lockdown, Eriksen was one of the players who stood out in the physical tests when Inter returned to work. The sessions are different from what he experienced under Pochettino but the intensity is still sky-high, with Conte expecting players to rack up a minimum of 11km on their GPS belts on some days. The conditioning of Inter’s former Premier League players, who are used to the Christmas and New Year fixture pile-up, is one of the reasons people around the club are optimistic about the team making up ground over the course of an attritional schedule between now and August 2.

With the exception of last night’s display against Sassuolo, a gut-punch 3-3 draw, Eriksen’s performances since the restart suggest Conte used the short time Inter had to ready the players for the final third of the season to decent effect. Wearing the No 24 — an inauspicious number for the generation of Interisti who remember Vratislav Gresko and his role in them losing out in the 2002 title race — Eriksen almost dragged the team to the Coppa Italia final, scoring a corner against Napoli only for humiliated goalkeeper David Ospina to make amends and keep a whole host of other shots out, including another effort from the Dane just minutes from time.

Far from a flash in the pan, Eriksen’s quality once again came to the fore in Sunday’s 2-1 win against Sampdoria. As with his first goal for the club against Ludogorets, the chemistry between him and Lukaku, whose intelligence has already shone through in the strike partnership he has struck up with Lautaro, is generating excitement at the Giuseppe Meazza.

The team move for their opening goal at the weekend was indicative of players being on the same wavelength, as well as the carefully choreographed nature of Conte’s coaching, with Milan Skriniar playing a vertical pass for Lautaro to run onto and stretch the defence…

inter-1.png

Lukaku and Eriksen, positioned close together, dashed up the pitch in pursuit while the Argentine held the ball up ready to offload…

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Lautaro backheeled the ball into the path of Lukaku, who then shifted it on to Eriksen…

inter-3.png

Then Eriksen played a no-look assist back to his Belgian team-mate, who shot past the goalkeeper Emil Audero…

inter-4.png

The pair continued to duet in the second half when Young put Eriksen through down the left channel, his sublime control taking him past the defender and drawing Audero out of position.

Eriksen teed up Lukaku for a second goal but alas the most expensive player in Inter’s history pulled his shot wide. Conte continues to rue missed chances like that one and the shot Eriksen fired straight at Ospina against Napoli. He was fuming after the 3-3 draw against Sassuolo when Roberto Gagliardini made his entry for miss of the season. Dropping points last night was a kick in the teeth just as it looked like Conte had happened on more solutions to Inter’s problems like taking a wing-back off for a midfielder, reshuffling his defence and going 4-3-1-2 when Inter need to pile the pressure on in attack.

Man of the match in the Samp game, Eriksen had five shots and created four chances, and the former Spurs player has to rediscover that form when Inter return to action in Parma on Sunday night. Asked to reveal his best position, he matter of factly said: “Where the ball is.” Inter must get him on it more than they did against Sassuolo. Eriksen’s first three words in Italian at the weekend were confident and unequivocal. “Inter… Scudetto… Si.” Faith in their chances has been shaken in the meantime. Inter will need their Dane to be great if they’re to reel Juventus and Lazio in now.

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