It was impossible not to be drawn to the sight of Christian Eriksen as euphoric Leeds fans lingered after their team had left the pitch still elated with a successful last-day relegation fight. The victory allowed Leeds to avoid being relegated.
The Dane was seen dancing on the field of the Brentford Community Stadium with his son Alfred, who is three years old, waving to fans as he strolled along the touchline with his fiancée Sabrina and their little daughter, giving his shirt to a spectator, and climbing over seats to take photographs.
It was the end of one of the best good news stories in the history of football, and now the 30-year-old is starting a new chapter after signing a three-year agreement with Manchester United. The new chapter begins after one of sport’s greatest good news tales came to an end.
Eriksen had suffered a heart episode and passed out during Denmark’s game against Finland in the Euro 2020 qualifying round less than a year earlier.
Bit by piece, he put his life back together again. After having an implanted cardioverter defibrillator fitted, he was no longer able to play for Inter Milan; however, he was free to play in England, and Brentford offered him a short-term contract to play for them.
In their match against Leeds, Brentford was defeated. But Eriksen did. He had demonstrated that he was capable of restarting his professional career.
To be brutally honest, Eriksen is not cut out to play for Brentford as a football player.
It would be naive to believe that Eriksen is capable of transforming Manchester United all by himself. However, the Old Trafford club have been looking for a player of his calibre to sign for quite some time.
This summer, Paul Pogba decided to leave the team, leaving new manager Erik ten Hag with a squad that is severely lacking in a creative element. Pogba’s contribution, meanwhile, can be outstanding or it might be nonexistent. Eriksen is a substantially more reliable and consistent impact than any other person.
He demonstrated at Brentford that he still had the ability to see passes that very few others are capable of. That is an irreplaceable commodity for a team like United, which has seen its offensive potential deteriorate in part because there haven’t been enough opportunities presented to them.
Bruno Fernandes was a breath of new air for Manchester United when he arrived at Old Trafford in 2020 from Sporting Lisbon. This was primarily due to the fact that he played with his head up and looked forward while he was on the field. Eriksen is capable of doing it, and he is also more dependable in his execution.
He is versatile enough to play deeper in the midfield or further up the field, either on the wing or in the number 10 position. Eriksen’s major skills are priceless commodities in the type of fluid team that Ten Hag is aiming to put together, and he has a lot of them.
When Eriksen was at Tottenham, he used to set up chances for Harry Kane, and more recently, he did the same thing for Romelu Lukaku at Inter Milan. If Cristiano Ronaldo stays at the club, as many people believe is still possible despite the current situation, Eriksen will be able to do the same thing.
The signing of Eriksen is not Ten Hag’s first acquisition of the summer, nor will it be his final one. However, it is possible that he is the most significant.