Christian Eriksen is expected to join Manchester United on a free transfer, but where will he play?
Manchester United intends to strengthen their midfield this summer in order to properly fulfill Erik ten Hag’s vision. While the club has struck a deal with Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong — but has yet to finalize personal terms with the player — the club has also agreed on a contract in principle with Christian Eriksen to sign the midfielder on a free transfer.
Eriksen has extensive Premier League experience, having played different roles for both Tottenham Hotspur and Brentford. Ten Hag has previously trained with the Danish midfielder, who worked with Ajax to rebuild fitness following a cardiac crisis and before his miraculous return to the Premier League last season.
But where will Eriksen play for United? Fans have been arguing this online, and Ten Hag’s most recent press conference may have dropped an accidental hint.
Bruno Fernandes is clearly United’s starting number 10, but many expected Eriksen to serve as a backup for the midfielder, which caused concerns over where Donny van de Beek would play. In his most recent press conference, Ten Hag said of his former Ajax protégé, “He can do both [play deep and high], I know that from the past.”
“His best position is in the opponent’s box, directly behind the striker.” He has a strong sense of being in the proper place.”
This might imply Eriksen will be used deeper as part of the pivot at United, like he was at Brentford this season, or out wide, as he was at Tottenham under Mauricio Pochettino. He may be great in a deep-lying playmaker role, creating from further back than Fernandes and giving United more alternatives for moving the ball upfield.
If United were able to sign De Jong, they could establish a strong partnership that would allow Ten Hag to dominate possession. The Dutchman would drop deep to pick up the ball from the defense and initiate assaults, while Eriksen’s placement would make him an option for the pass, and his vision would then open up United’s options out wide.
Ten Hag’s team is beginning to take shape, and despite the fact that Tyrell Malacia was United’s only new acquisition in their 4-0 friendly win over Liverpool, you could see the fundamental ideas that the manager was attempting to apply. You could also see where Eriksen might improve on the side.