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Thursday January 16 2020
Eriksen the right man for Inter

Christian Eriksen looks set join Inter from Tottenham Hotspur, so Karsten Krogh examines whether the Dane is a good fit for Antonio Conte and Serie A.

Christian Eriksen will turn 28 in February and should be at the absolute peak of his powers the next couple of years. He has never been particularly quick and thus never had to rely on his speed. He is almost never injured and he has been used to playing many games over a season. Last term he played 35 Premier League matches (eight goals and 12 assists) and 12 in the Champions League (two goals and four assists). Statistically, he is often the player on the pitch who has run the most after Tottenham’s games. 

Eriksen is no Douglas Costa or Phillippe Coutinho. He does not take on players and dribbles past them. The Dane is an offensive playmaker who hardly ever loses the ball. Think Miralem Pjanic 20 metres further up the pitch. He is comfortable in tight spaces and always searching for the ball. He is excellent at controlling the tempo of the game and he has no problem just rolling the ball around in midfield if that is what it takes. The former Ajax player is a much better fit on a team that controls the game and has a lot of possession, than on a team that plays on the counter, although he can do that as well, if required.

At Tottenham, Eriksen has been an integral part of a historically, frankly, mid-league to sub-top side that have recently experienced its best period the last 50 years. Even though Spurs have not won anything, they have qualified for the Champions League – rather comfortably – the last four years. Last season they even made it to the Final, even though you would probably say they were very fortunate to do so. If you look at Tottenham historically, they probably won’t make it back there again this century. Inter, however, with 18 Scudetto titles and three Champions League trophies, are a far bigger club than Tottenham, even though Spurs might have been a better team than Inter the last five seasons.

What Inter will get in Eriksen is a player who has an abundance of experience playing against some of the best teams in the world. The Dane will not be intimidated by going to Juventus, Napoli or Roma. He is used to playing against Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Ajax - and not just once or twice a season...

As Austrian manager Ralph Hassenhüttl said when he came to Premier League club Southampton from Bundesliga side Leipzig: “We have six teams at the level of Bayern Munich in the Premier League. So you could say we play 12 times against Bayern per season.” That may be a bit of an overstatement, but the Premier League’s top six has been far superior to Italy’s and Germany’s for years now. No reason to deny that. 

It remains to be seen whether or not Conte really wants Eriksen as a player on the pitch, or whether the Dane is simply CEO Beppe Marotta’s idea of a great investment. If Eriksen does not work out at Inter, Marotta and Inter will have no shortage of suitors from the richest league in the world, where Eriksen is highly regarded. Filthy rich clubs like Manchester United would almost certainly be willing to pay at least €70m for Eriksen in the summer, if things do not pan out in Milan. In other words, the Dane is a relatively safe investment, even though his wages will probably be very high at Inter.

If Conte do take to Eriksen, he will get a very experienced, seasoned but still fairly young, in Serie A terms, player with an enormous amount of international and big game experience. Nicolò Barella, Marcelo Brozovic and Stefano Sensi are all very gifted midfielders, but Eriksen has more top football experience under his belt than all of them put together.

When Inter have had problems this season, they often played well in the first half, but lost control after the break – as in their match against Atalanta last weekend. With Eriksen on the pitch, they will be much better at controlling a game when they are a goal or two up. The last handful of seasons, Tottenham have been excellent at killing games when they are ahead, and Eriksen has been an integral part of this. He is a safe station to pass the ball to. He hardly ever gives the ball away.

In terms of defensive skills on the pitch, Eriksen is a hard worker and good at pressing, but by no means much of a physical presence. He doesn’t tackle much or win many balls outright, but he is never lazy and always tracks back when needed. 

Offensively, he is a real danger from the edge of the penalty area. He is one of the best two-footed players in the world – his left foot is amazing, even though he is right footed. His set-pieces used to be world-class, but eerily he has lost that skill slightly in the last couple of years. Assist-wise he is excellent. Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez should be salivating by the prospect of getting the Dane in the side, as Eriksen has created many of Harry Kane’s goals for Spurs the last five seasons.

Whether or not Conte and Eriksen and Serie A in general will suit each other remains to be seen. There is no doubt, however, that Eriksen and Conte share one common trait: a hunger for titles. The normally very quiet and diplomatic Eriksen has, the last couple of seasons, been visibly frustrated by Tottenham’s shortcomings when it comes to going all the way and winning trophies.

Eriksen won three Dutch titles with Ajax from 2011 to 2013, but he has won nothing in his prime with Spurs. He has repeatedly rejected Tottenham’s proposals for a new contract – almost certainly because he did not see any signs that the London team would win anything soon. 

Don't be fooled by Eriksen’s disarming and almost self-effacing demeanour on and off the pitch. He desperately wants to win and in that respect he is no different from his new coach at Inter. 

Karsten Krogh is a Serie A commentator based in Copenhagen and has worked on more than 300 Serie A matches for Danish viewers over the last 15 years. Twitter: @karstenkrogh14

Have your say...
@Inter: You said it yourself: " (...) he’s the reason they have been a decent side (...)". Tottenham has never been a great club, and they had one very good season (2018/19). Granted, Eriksen is a fine player yet he never played for a top-level club, which means he never won any major trophy (I know he won the Eredivisie) and never felt the pressure to win trophies year in, year out. The potential is there, but in humble opinion he needs to show more than that to be considered world class.
on the 21st January, 2020 at 8:47am
"Inter" leave "Roman" alone...
Eriksen is a great player, amazing purchase but NEVER ON A RONALDO-LEVEL.
He's on Pjanic level. Not Xavi, Zidane, Kaka...

Of course his addition is great for Serie A, but incomparable to what Ronaldo brought!


Let's all take a moment & thank Juve for what they did for Seie A with Ronaldo's purchase...
(In my country suddenly everyone started to follow Serie A again.)

You can't compare getting Eriksen to buying Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar, Mbappe...
on the 17th January, 2020 at 10:00pm
@roman not sure why people don’t think eriksen is world class? He’s been poor this season but he also doesn’t want to be there. He’s been one of the best midfielders in the world for years and he’s only 27. His highlights speak for themselves, talk to any Tottenham fan, he’s the reason they have been a decent side and who has supplied Kane. And he will arguably will play his best football in Italy.
on the 17th January, 2020 at 12:27pm
"Arguably as big a pick up for serie a as Ronaldo was. This will do wonders for our league."

Come on. You're getting ahead of yourself there a little :-)

He is a very good player but nowhere near Ronaldo or other world class players.
on the 17th January, 2020 at 9:18am
I don't get the point in signing spinazzola. This will be mental on biraghi. Ghoulam on attacking sense is pure addition not contradiction!!.
on the 17th January, 2020 at 8:06am
We need to put practicing sensi in the right side of midfield in xavi mould and eriksen is our iniesta!! brozovic and barella is our busquetes...
on the 17th January, 2020 at 5:40am
It remains to be seen if Eriksen will succeed in Serie A. But for a highly tactical player that he is, i don't see any problem for him to settle in Italy. He is a bit part Brozovic and Sensi combine. And he is not afraid to score. Wish him all the best. As for not many clubs are after him probably because its winter so this is a smart move by Inter to land him first before competing for his signature in the summer.
on the 16th January, 2020 at 10:58pm
I am sure almost every club would have been in for him or at least made him an offer. Something happened at the his meeting with inter - obviously they have talked to him about something more than just money (which he would have gotten more of elsewhere anyways). Even if he was to be terrible for inter in the first 6 months, he could still be sold for 50m+ so really is a no brainer. Arguably as big a pick up for serie a as Ronaldo was. This will do wonders for our league.
on the 16th January, 2020 at 9:41pm
erikisen is a quality player there are very few teams in world football where he might struggle for game time. He is probably a little bit too good for inter as he is a bit too good for spurs he would be better off waiting 6 months for a move to real or barca if there is a serious offer on the table. A chance to play for real the most successful team in world football or a chance to play with messi barca it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
on the 16th January, 2020 at 8:49pm
Conte's quick impact on Inter is one of the reason's they are gaining interest from Eriksen. He should do well in Italy, but the fact that other teams have dropped interest means their is something injury or personality wise or could it just be all mighty dollar.
on the 16th January, 2020 at 6:25pm
He certainly adds depth to the midfield and is a class act at a bargain price so a no brainer. I'm surprised more clubs weren't in for him even if it was just as an investment they could sell on in 18 months time.

My only concern is that does this mean Sensi who was doing so well will find himself pushed to the bench? I hope not and I do believe if Inter go deep in the EL they'll need all the players they can.

All in all great piece of business
on the 16th January, 2020 at 5:50pm
And dont forget to give him the number '10' jersey! Lautaro should have vacate it for him and take no.11 instead. If not then number 7 is must foe ERIKSENNNN!!!!!!!! GOAALS IS COMING
on the 16th January, 2020 at 4:05pm
Eriksen is a terrific playmaker and will make Inter a truly more dangerous team.
Recently and Inexplicably he has not played as much (avg: 58 minutes) with Tottenham as in the past and the team performance has fallen off.
He is an accurate and deadly passer that will make Lautaro and Lukaku even more dangerous.
If he can adapt well to Serie A, Inter is a serious contender now and for years to come..
on the 16th January, 2020 at 3:45pm
Eriksen is going to ruin his career. What a mistake, don't do it. Your agent only has you as a client surely he could give you an option better than this.
on the 16th January, 2020 at 2:49pm
I believe Eriksen is at the lever with de Bruyne. Regret AC Milan didn't buy him, as they have no midfield at the moment (besides Paqueta who is to leave Italy). Inter owners are very clever this season with Conte and new players.
on the 16th January, 2020 at 1:02pm
Eriksen is a gamble. Italian football is not English football. The Dane could very well make a good impression, but for how long?
on the 16th January, 2020 at 12:22pm
Dammit. I really hoped he'd come to Roma when his contract expires in July
--He used to be a Roma tifoso in youth (Wore Roma scarfs and his room was filled with Totti posters...)!
...Though Roma could only offer him max 6 mil salary...

Def amazing buy for Inter.

Spinazolla would also be a GREAT addition to Conte's 3-5-2 formation.
(Although he's always injured. He missed a lot of games + Almost every game he started for Roma he had to be substituted because of injury!)
on the 16th January, 2020 at 11:03am
His form isn't as good as it was, but Inter desperately need a creative player and his assist record is excellent.

Himself, Sensi, and L Martinez should enjoy playing with each other.

If Spinazzola comes too he'll be an upgrade on Biraghi.

Don't see any point to Giroud anymore than I saw any point to Sanchez, but they do need back-up for the forwards. Mertens might be an option as his contract is almost up and he's a far more reliable player than Giroud or the non-performing Sanchez.
on the 16th January, 2020 at 10:57am
@ Red and Black. To hell with Bbilan. Its Inter Milan & Eriksen we're talking here. And fyi Eriksen have chosen Inter Milan over Psg, so that alone should be a statement of how well Inter projects is to Eriksen. I was not too eager of his signing at first since i would like Inter to maintain Barella-Brozovic-Sensi partnership but now with injuries may happen and Inter's intention for glory in Serie A & Europe, i think his addition would be very good along with Vidal etc.
on the 16th January, 2020 at 10:47am
He needs to be made as an integral element to our game quick. We can do with his enormous creativity and attacking passing ranges. Well welcome home leadear. We have now three; handanovic, godin, and our sneijderrr back in eriksen's boot!!! We are finally back!
on the 16th January, 2020 at 5:04am
Please please please let PSG interest in Eriksen be true. We can't even get a Barca reject defender to join us over Schalke while inter attract Eriksen. Elliot need to find serious buyers like Suning who can turn us around. If everyone thought the last derby was embarrassing, the next one will be worse. Time for a milan revolution.
on the 16th January, 2020 at 2:34am
If Inter sign Eriksen, this is a massive statement of intent from the club. Lets face it - Eriksen can sign anywhere, especially for the quoted price. The club has put forward a good wage packet, but no doubt there would have been better. Obviously inter's ambition has attracted him, we are aiming for the top of football and with suning backing us, commercial side better than its ever been and growing every day, no doubt the football side will follow suit. Finally exciting times for inter fans!
on the 16th January, 2020 at 2:32am

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