View from the terraces

Christian Eriksen: a fairytale return and World Cup dream

Danish star has signed for Brentford just eight months after suffering a cardiac arrest

It was a busy start of the year for Premier League clubs as managers looked to bolster their squads ahead of the second half of the season. 

In the January transfer window top-flight teams spent £322.9m on new signings, Sky Sports reported. And it was Newcastle (£93m), Everton (£76m), Liverpool (£49m) and Aston Villa (£27m) who were the league’s biggest spenders. 

West London club Brentford, who were promoted from the Championship last season, only made a couple of signings in January – but one of them is the “highest-profile transfer” in their history, said The Daily Telegraph

The arrival of Christian Eriksen on a six-month contract is “one of the stories of the season so far” and comes just eight months after he suffered a cardiac arrest at last summer’s Uefa European Championships.  

‘Unbelievable opportunity’ for Brentford 

Eriksen, 29, has not played since he collapsed on the pitch during Denmark’s match against Finland at Euro 2020 last June. He had his contract cancelled at Inter Milan in December and has trained alone at Danish side Odense Boldklub – where he was previously a youth player, the BBC reported. 

During his recovery Eriksen was fitted with an implanted cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) – a type of pacemaker. In Italy players fitted with an ICD cannot compete in Serie A, however, the Premier League does not have the same regulations. He will become the first known professional footballer to play with an ICD at the top of the English game, the Telegraph said. 

The opportunity to sign a world-class player like Eriksen was an “unbelievable opportunity”, said Brentford head coach Thomas Frank. “He hasn’t trained with a team for seven months but has done a lot of work on his own. He is fit but we will need to get him match fit.”

‘Football’s most complicated deal’

Eriksen’s signing for Brentford has been described as the “most complicated deal” ever in football, the i news site reported. It’s been more than two months in the making and ended with the “most stringent medical” in the competition’s history.

“Fans might look at it and think it was a matter of checking his heart, giving him a medical and getting it done, but Brentford are in unchartered territory,” a source told i news. “It’s taken a long time – it wasn’t just Brentford who needed to be satisfied, it was the player and everyone around him and then the Premier League and the Football Association as well – who didn’t want anything to happen on their watch.”

Brentford will not release any medical details regarding the checks that Eriksen has undergone, the Telegraph reported. However, the club’s director of football Phil Giles has assured fans that “we have undertaken significant due diligence to ensure that Christian is in the best possible shape to return to competitive football”. 

Eriksen’s World Cup goal 

Brentford’s deadline day announcement video has had 5.7m views so far on Twitter and social media has been flooded with well-wishes for the Dane. Inter wished him good luck for his new adventure and another of his former clubs, Tottenham, welcomed Eriksen back to the English top-flight.

It’s a “fairytale return” to the Premier League, Metro said. And for the player himself he just “can’t wait to get started”.

Speaking to Danish broadcaster DR earlier this month, Eriksen also revealed that his big “goal” for 2022 is to play in the Fifa World Cup in Qatar. “I want to play – that’s been my mindset all along,” he said. “It’s a goal, a dream. Whether I’ll be picked is another thing. I want to prove I’ve moved on and that I can play on the national team again.”

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