Andrea Pirlo referred to Antonio Conte as “The beast with two wives” – his actual wife and Football. The former regista also commented before the ‘mister’ came to Inter, that he could give the Nerazzurri even more then they had seen with Jose Mourinho, he thinks him the better coach, in fact, the best Pirlo has ever played with.
If Christian Eriksen has researched his potential new surroundings at all, then the words of such a magnificent midfielder will assure him that, at Inter, he could be the catalyst of something magnificent.
Francesco Totti was Eriksen’s idol, well, along with Michael Laudrup. The young Danish boy from Middelfart wanted to emulate his heroes, but it was the way he went about doing so that has seen him receive the most credit.
The English press have massacred his reputation. They call him moody, arrogant, disruptive and money-orientated, yet this couldn’t be further from the truth. Look at any interview with Glenn Riddersholm, who coached Eriksen in the Denmark Under-17 team, and he will wax lyrical about the Dane’s humility, calmness, intelligence and more so his absolute professionalism. This is also replicated by any of his other coaches, from Odense to Ajax and yes, Spurs.
The Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet report that Inter are very close to reaching agreement with Tottenham for Eriksen worth €20-23m and it seems like a steal. The simple fact of the matter is that the Dane has let his contract run down, as he reportedly wants to move to a club that has the potential to win titles. One cannot criticise anyone’s ambition and the midfielder easily has the talent to back this up. Far from being this arrogant troublemaker, Eriksen has honoured his contract, watched the Tottenham project go its course and simply no longer believes in it.
Let us not forget, whilst the North London club have made gargantuan strides forward in recent years, it was not so long ago that the world was mystified that they beat Inter in the Champions League at the start of the last decade. They are a great club, but Inter have the history and the prestige.
He seems like the perfect fit for Conte, a player who will work hard, is quiet and as Riddersholm makes clear, is a student of the game. If he goes to Milan, it will not be his first time. He had trials for the Rossoneri before he moved to Ajax; it was reported by his former coach Anders Skjoldemose, when he told the Guardian: “When he would return from the trials, the other boys would ask him, ‘What was it like in Milan?’ Christian would reply, ‘It was okay. Are you ready for training now?’ Other children would just have never left Cloud Nine.”
Once again, the modest boy who was calm and collected. These were not the only trials, Barcelona and Chelsea were too, but in the latter case, Christian thought it was too elitist and both were too big a step. What boy thinks that?
Would he fit in at Inter? Yes. There is no doubt he would be the missing link in the midfield. With Nicolò Barella and Stefano Sensi being monumentally important, the only question for Conte would be, what does he do with the brilliant Marcelo Brozovic? Add Eriksen to this mix and Antonio’s complaints of strength in depth would be nullified by the fact that Matias Vecino and Roberto Gagliardini would be knocking at his door asking why they were not playing.
Add to this the creativity and vison Christian could bring to Inter and how he could supply the marriage of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez and the prospects are mouth-watering. The simple fact is that in Italy, his abilities could be appreciated as a regista, but probably more as a trequartista.
At the time of writing, the deal is not done, but all sources indicate that it is close. Eriksen could be the difference between the Scudetto coming to Milan rather than Turin. If he comes next year, the same applies. Perhaps how crucial he would be is best left to the words of former coach at Ajax, Martin Jol, who simply said Christian is “still probably the club’s greatest talent from the past 15 to 20 years.”