Christian Eriksen is poised to become Manchester United’s next summer acquisition, following Tyrell Malacia, who is expected to join the club this week.
Eriksen, 30, has verbally agreed to sign a three-year contract with United, and senior club insiders claim that contracts for the midfielder are already being prepared.
The international player from Denmark, who spent three months with Brentford after recovering from a heart collapse he suffered while competing in the European Championship last summer, is now a free agent and will give Erik ten Hag more options in the midfield.
Eriksen is best recognized for his role as a playmaker when playing for Tottenham in the Premier League, but he is not limited to that position for United.
Here are the three possible lineups Man Utd could use with Christian Eriksen’s transfer:
- As a Bruno Fernandes replacement
The most logical option would be to use the Denmark international in the attacking midfield role he is best known for, particularly in order to ease an over-reliance on Bruno Fernandes.
Eriksen remains one of the most creative talents in the Premier League, and since he signed for Brentford only Martin Odegaard and Kevin de Buryne created more chances than him last season.
With such a packed fixture schedule on the horizon, it is crucial that United find a way to rotate their key players, and having Eriksen’s talent in reserve is certainly a valuable asset.
- As a deep-lying playmaker
Another role in which the 30-year-old has experience is a deep-lying playmaker, something that Antonio Conte experimented with while they were together at Inter.
Many of his appearances at Brentford also came as part of a flat midfield trio, and in others he operated as part of an axis in front of a designated defensive option.
It means United would have more reason to play with a 4-3-3 approach as opposed to a 4-2-3-1 tactic, meaning they can pack out the midfield against opponents who warrant such treatment.
- On the right-wing
United are in the market for a right-sided attacker this summer, but one other solution could be to use Eriksen there in a similar vein to how Juan Mata was often used.
Eriksen might not have the mobility to operate as an out-and-out winger in every match, but he is such an intelligent player that he can still operate there and cause a threat.
It is unlikely Eriksen will ever make it into United’s strongest XI as a wide option, though it is certainly another possibility against teams in which they are expected to dominate possession.