Christian Eriksen declared he would "love to play Champions League football again" amid speculation of returning to Tottenham or joining Manchester United.

Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest when playing for Denmark last June at Euro 2020 against Finland and was brought back to life on the pitch.

The 30-year-old was then unable to play for Inter, as medical rulings in Italy prevent players from featuring after having a cardioverter-defibrillator fitted.

The midfielder subsequently joined Brentford on a six-month contract in January and has starred on his Premier League return, scoring once and assisting four in 10 league games.

Eriksen has also created 26 chances in the league since his Brentford debut at the end of February, with only Son Heung-min (27), Martin Odegaard (30) and Kevin De Bruyne (37) making more in that period.

However, Eriksen's short-term contract will expire soon after Brentford host relegation-threatened Leeds United on Sunday, leading to questions over his future.

Brentford manager Thomas Frank has made it clear he wants his compatriot to stay, while reports in England suggest a return to Spurs or a move north to United.

Meanwhile, Eriksen has hinted that he wants to play in Europe's premier club competition again, which may bolster Tottenham's bid should Antonio Conte's side edge past Arsenal in the top-four race.

"I do not think that there are some football players who can just pick and choose between clubs, because there are many criteria that come into play," Eriksen told Viaplay.

"There are also many clubs that need to see one's path before that happens.

"I have different offers and options, which we are considering, and then we make a decision.

"I would love to play Champions League football again. I know how much fun it is, but it isn't essential for me."

Eriksen's mid-season boost has ensured Brentford have already secured their Premier League status for next season, while Spurs will head into the final matchday a point behind Arsenal should the Gunners beat Newcastle United on Monday.

Thomas Frank believes Brentford have a "very good chance" of keeping midfielder Christian Eriksen.

Former Tottenham playmaker Eriksen resumed his career by making a sensational return to the Premier League in January, joining the Bees on a deal until the end of the season.

It is only last June that the 30-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark's Euro 2020 game against Finland and was brought back to life on the pitch.

Eriksen was released by Inter, as he would have been unable to play in Italy after having a cardioverter defibrillator fitted.

Inter's loss has been very much Brentford's gain, as the former Ajax midfield maestro has pulled the strings for the London club and also scored two goals in as many games against Serbia and the Netherlands back on the international stage.

Eriksen has been linked with a return to Spurs, while other clubs are reportedly keen to sign him as a free agent at the end of the season, but Brentford boss Frank is hopeful he will sign a new deal with the Bees.

When asked about keeping his compatriot, Frank told BBC Sport: "I am always positive. I always believe we have a very good chance.

"I know he is happy here, he is enjoying his football. It is a decision that will be taken at the end of the season."

He added on Sky Sports: "The key is he performs consistently at a high level ... It's no secret we would like to do everything we can to keep him."

Brentford have won five of the eight league games Eriksen has featured in, while he has provided two assists and scored a goal himself. The Dane has created 16 chances, with 11 of those coming from set-pieces.

Arsenal's project under Mikel Arteta has taken positive steps this season, but the need for a striker remains.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette seemingly on the way out at the end of the season, that need could become even more pertinent.

If the Gunners achieve qualification for the Champions League however, Tammy Abraham's return to the Premier League could be on the cards.


TOP STORY – ARSENAL TO GO AFTER ABRAHAM

Arsenal are showing renewed interest in Tammy Abraham and are looking to bring him to the Emirates Stadium if they qualify for the Champions League, according to Star Sunday.

Mikel Arteta was very keen to sign the 24-year-old Abraham at the start of the season, before he left for Roma, who were able to guarantee a healthy salary and first-team football along with the chance to join Jose Mourinho.

Abraham has enjoyed a stellar first season in Serie A, contributing 15 goals and four assists in 33 league appearances.

While Chelsea can activate a buy-back clause at the end of the season, the Gunners would be willing to offer £50million (€59.5m) to secure Abraham's transfer.  


ROUND-UP

- West Ham have joined the race for Torino and Italy striker Andrea Belotti, whose contract expires at the end of the season, according to Fichajes.

- Real Madrid are in best position to sign German international Antonio Rudiger, who will leave Chelsea at the end of the season, Goal reports.

- Frenkie de Jong has been linked with a move to Manchester United, where he would reunite with incoming coach Erik ten Hag, per the Manchester Evening News.

- Ten Hag is also reportedly keen on signing Christian Eriksen, whose six-month deal with Brentford expires at the end of the season, according to Star Sunday.

Tottenham stuttered to a 0-0 draw at Brentford on Saturday, handing bitter rivals Arsenal the advantage in the race for fourth in the Premier League.

Arsenal defeated Manchester United 3-1 earlier in the day to open a three-point lead over Antonio Conte's men, and Spurs' inability to follow suit prevented them going ahead of the Gunners on goal difference.

Spurs offered little attacking threat during a first half that Brentford enjoyed the better of, with their set-piece prowess causing the visitors problems and bringing about a great chance as Ivan Toney hit the woodwork.

The contest was more open in general after the interval but still the best opportunities fell the way of Brentford, who again hit the frame of the goal through Toney and only failed to clinch a deserved victory due to lacking the finishing touch.

Thomas Frank's side looked fired up from the off and nearly took an early lead when Vitaly Janelt robbed Ryan Sessegnon before teeing up Bryan Mbeumo, whose shot was deflected agonisingly wide.

It was from corners where Brentford posed a more consistent threat, however, with Toney's runs to the back post a regular nuisance.

But their best opportunity arrived when Toney waited centrally for a corner delivery, rising highest and heading against the crossbar.

A brief Spurs improvement after half-time did not amount to much as Brentford were soon in the ascendancy again, Christian Eriksen seeing a 20-yard effort deflect just wide.

From the resulting corner, Pontus Jansson had a header cleared off the line and Eriksen – facing his former club for the first time since returning to the Premier League – was denied by Hugo Lloris.

Spurs had another fortunate escape right at the end, as Toney crashed a header against the upright.

Christian Eriksen says he is "enjoying the moment" at Brentford, but refused to commit to his next steps ahead of a reunion with former club Tottenham on Saturday.

The Denmark international will face his old club for the first time since he linked up with the Bees in January, a move which came seven months after his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020.

The playmaker has defied expectations to make a full return to football after his collapse in Copenhagen last summer, and has been at the heart of Brentford's revival since arriving. 

He will reunite with Spurs for the first time since he left for Inter in 2020 this weekend, as well as with former Nerazzurri boss Antonio Conte.

Those close links have fuelled speculation he could return to his former North London home at the conclusion of the season, but for now, Eriksen is focused on enjoying his time with the Bees.

"When I signed here in January, it was actually [about] coming back and showing I was a football player and could play football," he told Sky Sports ahead of the Bees' clash with Spurs.

"There was also the six months of a test trial. By now, it feels good. But for the future, I don't know.

"I'm just enjoying the moment, every game is really fun to play in. What happens in the summer will be a decision for me as a footballer and as a family man.

"Everything is open. I've been taken good care of at Brentford, they've really shown me a lot of love and [I'm] trying to repay them for what they've showed me.

"Every option is open, either at Brentford or anywhere else."

Spurs captain Hugo Lloris, meanwhile, says his side are looking forward to seeing their old team-mate, who helped them to the 2019 Champions League Final during his time with the club.

"After what happened to him, it's always nice to see an ex-team-mate but even more, a player who was special for the club," he told Tottenham's official website.

"He spent more than six years at the club and he had a great time, we had a great time as team-mates.

"Then after what happened last summer… for most of us, it's going to be the first time that we’ve seen him.

"Obviously the most important thing for us right now is the game and the three points. We will have time after the game to enjoy the moment with him."

Christian Eriksen joining another club at the end of season would be "what it is" according to Brentford boss Thomas Frank, amid reports the Denmark star may re-sign with Tottenham.

Attacking midfielder Eriksen penned a short-term contract with the Bees in January, just seven months after suffering a cardiac arrest representing his country at Euro 2020.

Eriksen was available as a free agent after his Inter contract was cancelled because rules in Serie A prevent players fitted with a heart-starting device playing in the competition.

The 30-year-old has impressed under Frank, leading to rumours he may reunite with Antonio Conte – his coach at Inter – and re-join Spurs, who he departed to move to Italy in January 2020.

Eriksen will come up against his former boss when the teams meet in the Premier League this weekend, and Conte admitted in an interview with Sky Sports he would enjoy working with him again.

"For sure, to work again with Christian is a fantastic opportunity," Conte said.

"I enjoyed the time we spent together in Inter Milan, despite the first time he didn't play regularly with me.

"But then when I understood what I wanted about him then he played. We won together a title, the league in Italy.

"When you have this type of player, a great player, a good man, I think every manager, every coach, likes to work with them."

Frank understands Conte's desire to be reunited with Eriksen, though retains hope he may opt to remain with Brentford.

"Obviously he would enjoy to work with him and Christian is a fantastic player, but I know that I will answer this question from now until the end of the season and hopefully we end up signing him," Frank told a pre-match news conference.

"But if he ends up at another club, it is what it is. I want to focus on now and trying to prepare the team and Christian for the game and hopefully we can make him flourish tomorrow and perform well and beat Tottenham.

"I think we went into this with open eyes and this is the outcome we hoped for, that he performs fantastic and that we perform well and the other hope is that he performs after the summer."

Frank also acknowledged Eriksen is excited to face a team whom he helped reach the Champions League final in the 2018-19 season.

"I think he just literally looks forward to playing Tottenham. He has a lot of old team-mates, a lot of staff members he worked closely together with for seven years of his life," Frank added.

"This is where he went from being a very talented footballer at Ajax to be a world-class midfielder, and one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.

"I know one thing, he is looking forward to it but he will do his best to try and beat them, of course he wants to compete."

Manchester United are preparing for a complete overhaul of the playing group in the upcoming transfer window as incoming manager Erik ten Hag begins to build things his way.

Ten Hag, who is arriving from Ajax, has reportedly already seen enough of a number of regular contributors at United, and they will make way for players he believes can get the club back to their former glory.

Forward, midfielders and defenders are all on the chopping block, with very few positions expected to be safe heading into 2022-23.

 

TOP STORY – TEN HAG TO SWING THE AXE AT UNITED

The Sun is reporting United "could sell" Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Alex Telles at the next opportunity.

Meanwhile, Sky Sports claims United's needs include a new centre-back, two central midfielders, a winger and a striker in what could shape up as a complete rebuild.

One player who will reportedly get a chance to prove his worth at Old Trafford once he returns from loan is Donny van de Beek, who played for Ten Hag at Ajax.

West Ham's Declan Rice is also high on the Dutchman's wishlist, per The Guardian, while the Telegraph claims Benfica striker Darwin Nunez is a key target.

 

ROUND-UP

– Sky Sports Germany is reporting RB Leipzig have no interest in parting ways with Christopher Nkunku next season, despite interest from United and Arsenal.

– According to Goal, Milan are keen to sign Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, who spent two seasons at Inter before rejoining Chelsea this season.

Real Madrid are monitoring Newcastle United midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, per AS.

Manchester City and Newcastle United are both interested in 18-year-old Rangers academy midfielder Alex Lowry, according to Football Insider.

– Todofichajes reports that Christian Eriksen has agreed to return to Tottenham when his contract with Brentford expires at the end of this season.

New investment at Milan could see the Italian powerhouse target the best players across Europe's top clubs.

Milan have entered into exclusive talks with Bahrain-based asset manager Investcorp over a takeover.

The Rossoneri have been linked with Real Madrid's Marco Asensio and Isco and Liverpool's Divock Origi already.

TOP STORY – STERLING ON MILAN WISH LIST

Milan are monitoring Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

The England international is among a list of players that Milan would like to sign amid a reported lucrative takeover by a Bahrain-based organisation.

Sterling's current contract with City expires in 2023, but the Daily Mail claims he would turn down the Italian move.

 

ROUND-UP

 Christian Eriksen is gaining interest from former employers Tottenham after a good run of form, although his agent is set to meet with Brentford at the end of this season to formalise his future, claims Fabrizio Romano.

– Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga will hold talks at the end of this season to discuss his future having struggled for opportunities, reports Football.London.

– Jose Mourinho's Roma will open talks with Nemanja Matic's representatives as the Serbian midfielder prepares to leave Manchester United, reports Nicolo Schira.

– Manchester Evening News claims Manchester United have revived their interest in Villarreal defender Pau Torres.

After a cardiac episode at Euro 2020, there were questions about whether Christian Eriksen would ever be able to play football again, let alone at the highest level.

But less than a year after being released from his contract at Inter, the Denmark international is a hot commodity once again.

Since signing with Brentford on a six-month deal, Eriksen has displayed the quality that saw him net 69 goals over six and a half seasons for Tottenham, and now Premier League teams are circling.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE WANT ERIKSEN AS FLAGSHIP SIGNING

Tottenham have been linked with Eriksen in a potential reunion in the upcoming transfer window, but they are reportedly going to have to contend with Newcastle United, who wish to make him a "flagship" signing, per the Northern Echo.

Being out of contract, Eriksen will have his pick of potential suitors, yet Newcastle will likely have deep enough pockets to contend with anyone serious about adding the midfielder.

Since his return from the bench against Newcastle, Brentford have won all four Premier League matches in which Eriksen has played 90 minutes, including a 4-1 away win at Chelsea, where he scored.

 

ROUND-UP

– Football Insider is reporting Mohamed Salah is close to signing an extension with Liverpool that will pay him £400,000 per week.

West Ham have entered the race for Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, per Calciomercato.

– 90min is reporting Edinson Cavani may be Manchester United's "secret weapon" in their quest to sign fellow Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez from Benfica in the upcoming transfer window.

Cardiff City and Tottenham are joint-favourites to land the services of Wales international Gareth Bale when his contract with Real Madrid expires in June, per Wales Online.

– According to the Chronicle, both Arsenal and Newcastle are heavily linked with Lyon midfielder Lucas Paqueta, who is expected to fetch a price of around £58million.

It's matchday 32. No midweek games and precious points to pick up in the run home.

It's that time of the year when the unconventional pick can define one's season. Who dares wins, in other words.

With that in mind, let Stats Perform lead you by the hand with Opta data as we pick four players who might just give you those precious extra points in the latest Premier League gameweek.

VICENTE GUAITA (Leicester City v Crystal Palace)

The last time Leicester were kept scoreless at home by Crystal Palace in the Premier League was in December 2017, when Claude Puel was still manager of the Foxes.

In 2022, however, only Alisson and Ederson have kept more clean sheets than Vicente Guaita in the Premiership, with Guaita's four coming in his last five appearances.

Of the seven highest rankings in the Premier League for clean sheets in the new year, Guaita also has the third-highest percentage of shots saved at 75.86 per cent.

REECE JAMES (Southampton v Chelsea)

Despite the nature of their Champions League defeat to Real Madrid, against Southampton this weekend, it is almost a certainty that Chelsea will have the bulk of possession.

As a consequence of how Thomas Tuchel's side plays, Chelsea's wingbacks are very prominent in and around the penalty area.

Among Premier League defenders this season, no player has scored more goals than Reece James this season, while Antonio Rudiger is also second.

CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN (Brentford v West Ham)

Needing to back up from Thursday's tussle in the Europa League against Lyon, West Ham could be vulnerable.

Brentford's Christian Eriksen has either scored or assisted in his last two Premier League games for the Bees, while the Dane last did so in three consecutive Premier League appearances in April 2019. 

In three Premier League starts for Brentford this season, they have won all three games, and Eriksen has completed the most passes (111) in those games, played the most passes into the penalty area (26) and created the most chances (five).

HARRY KANE (Aston Villa v Tottenham)

Tottenham are starting to find their rhythm under Antonio Conte, even despite March's 3-2 defeat to Manchester United, and Harry Kane remains as pivotal as ever.

No player in the Premier League has contributed to more goals in 2022 than Kane, with eight goals and five assists over that period.

Kane has also been involved in a goal in each of his last six Premier League appearances, and only between July and November 2020 (eight games) has he been on a longer streak.

Christian Eriksen has been in sparkling form since returning to action with Brentford following his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020.

Inter allowed Eriksen to end his contract after the Denmark international was unable to play in Serie A after having a cardiac device implant fitted, allowing the Bees to sign him on a six-month deal.

Eriksen has since scored for both club and country, and his form has some familiar faces swirling.

 

TOP STORY – TOTTENHAM WANT ERISKEN REUNION

With his return to health, and some form, Tottenham want to bring Eriksen back to the club where he made a name for himself in England.

Eriksen departed from Ajax in 2013, and would spend seven seasons with Spurs, scoring 69 goals in 305 appearances, before signing with Antonio Conte's Inter in Serie A.

As luck would have it, Conte is now the man in charge at Tottenham, and The Daily Mail is reporting he would like to bring Eriksen back on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of this season.

Spurs will have some competition, though, as it is also reported that Manchester United will be seeking the Dane's services.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Liverpool Echo is reporting that Jurgen Klopp is "happy" with the fact that Mohamed Salah and "decisive parties" are talking to each other regarding a contract extension at Liverpool.

– If Salah was to leave the club, FourFourTwo is reporting that Liverpool will explore replacing him with Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe – while according to RMC Sport, a third "mystery team" has entered the race for Mbappe, with Real Madrid also circling.

– Real Madrid will be offering out Eden Hazard on loan for the 2022-23 season, according to AS.

– Union Berlin's Nigerian striker Taiwo Awoniyi will fetch a price of £25million if Newcastle, West Ham or Southampton want to prise him away, per Bild.

– The Daily Mirror is reporting that Newcastle could offer England midfielder Kalvin Phillips a contract worth £120,000 per week to lure him away from Leeds United.

Vitaly Janelt scored a classy double and Christian Eriksen opened his Brentford account in a sensational 4-1 derby win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Bees were the better side in the first half, but it was the Blues who took the lead just after the break through an Antonio Rudiger thunderbolt from long range.

Magnificent Brentford responded to that blow by scoring three times in the space of 10 minutes, Janelt on target with two brilliant strikes either side of Eriksen's clinical finish at the end of a devastating counter-attack.

Yoane Wissa added a late fourth goal as the Bees ran riot in a first victory over Chelsea since 1939, ending their London rivals' six-match winning run to move 11 points clear of the Premier League relegation zone.

Edouard Mendy was fortunate to get away with a terrible pass just five minutes in, with Ivan Toney letting the stranded Blues goalkeeper off the hook when his lob floated over the crossbar.

Toney had a shot palmed wide by Mendy and the wasteful striker headed off target from close range in an impressive start from Brentford.

Chelsea looked short of ideas, but Hakim Ziyech finally called David Raya into action with a rasping left-foot drive after he was picked out by Mason Mount in the penalty area.

Rudiger produced a moment of quality that the Blues had been so badly lacking to open the scoring three minutes into the second half, letting fly with venomous right-foot strike from 35 yards that flashed past Raya.

Chelsea's joy was short-lived, though, as Janelt rounded off a well-worked move by drilling Brentford level with his left foot two minutes later.

The Bees ripped the Blues apart with a brilliant counter-attack to take the lead four minutes after that equaliser, Eriksen applying the finish with his left foot after Bryan Mbeumo spotted his surging run into the box.

Thomas Frank's side continued to knock the ball around with a swagger and they were rewarded with a brilliant third goal on the hour-mark, Toney threading a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Janelt, who coolly dinked the ball over Mendy and into the back of the net with his left foot.

Wissa added insult to injury just after coming on, rifling home with his right foot after a mix-up between Rudiger and Thiago Silva with Chelsea all at sea.

Despite inking a new sponsorship deal with Spotify, improving on Barcelona's rejuvenation under Xavi will not force the club to spend unsustainably.

Xavi's side have made positive strides, finding form and re-establishing the club's identity, creating scope for Barcelona to become a destination for players.

The front three seems likely to transform under Xavi coming into next season, with the respective statuses of Memphis Depay, Ousmane Dembele, Adama Traore and Antoine Griezmann uncertain. However, the question of cost lingers.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA RENEW RAPHINHA OFFER

Barcelona's interest in Raphinha is being translated into offers for the Brazilian winger, but Sport reports the Premier League do not at present have a financial need to sell.

According to the Barcelona sports daily, Leeds turned down an initial offer of €35million (£30m), prompting the Blaugrana to increase to €40million (£34m) plus €10m (£8m) in options.

If Leeds suffer relegation, however, the release clause for the 25-year-old would be reduced to €25m (£21m).

It is also reported Barca would not necessarily be in a hurry, with Leeds currently 16th in the Premier League, while they could lean on Raphinha's agent and former Champions League winner, Deco.

ROUND-UP

– Paul Pogba will need to take a significant pay cut if he wants to join Juventus from Manchester United, per Calciomercato.

Real Madrid have identified Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham , despite his links with a move to Liverpool, according to reports in Bild.

– The Times have reported Brentford want to extend the six-month deal for 30-year-old Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen.

– If Erik ten Hag takes over as Manchester United manager, he is keen on signing Brazilian winger Antony from Ajax, per The Telegraph.

Christian Eriksen's best performances for Denmark could well be yet to come, according to coach Kasper Hjulmand. 

After scoring when Denmark faced the Netherlands last week – his first international outing since suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch last June – Eriksen took the captain's armband for his return to the site of his collapse in Tuesday's friendly against Serbia at Parken.

The Brentford midfielder marked the occasion with a lovely curling finish from the edge of the box, adding to strikes from Joakim Maehle and Jesper Lindstrom to complete a 3-0 victory. 

Eriksen was greeted by a banner reading "Welcome back, Eriksen" as led his team-mates out in Copenhagen and was given a standing ovation when he was substituted in the second half. 

"It was Christian Eriksen's comeback at Parken – it was magical," Hjulmand said. 

"We can see the blueprint for a relaxation and lightness in Christian's game, which is fantastic. He is so clear and calm, and he plays a lot of deep balls with his right and left feet, he keeps the game going when he needs to. It is a pleasure to see the way he makes himself comfortable on the pitch. 

"I think we can get something even better out of Christian for the next few years." 

Jannik Vestergaard believes Eriksen, who only returned to competitive action last month, has a new outlook on life and his career that is enabling him to perform to a high level. 

"You have to be careful what you say, but he was almost better than ever," said Vestergaard. 

"He played with ease … it may have really dawned on him how happy he is to play football. The pressure on him as our best player for many years then takes second place. 

"I think Christian enjoys every moment. Football is not everything in life, but for us football players it takes up quite a lot. He looks like someone who loves to be back, loves to play football and loves to play for Denmark. 

"I think there were many people who looked forward to getting Christian Eriksen back at Parken, and we had that too. 

"It was also great for us. It was a way to really put an end to some experiences we have had." 

Christian Eriksen made a memorable return to Parken by scoring while captaining Denmark to a 3-0 friendly victory over Serbia on Tuesday. 

Brentford midfielder Eriksen was playing at the stadium in Copenhagen for the first time since suffering a cardiac arrest there during the Euro 2020 game against Finland last June. 

The 30-year-old, who had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator fitted, only returned to competitive action in February and was handed the captain's armband for the game by Kasper Schmeichel. 

Eriksen was welcomed to the pitch with a banner that read "Welcome back, Christian" and followed up his goalscoring comeback against the Netherlands last week with a fine curling effort from just outside the box in the 57th minute. It rounded off the win after goals from Joakim Maehle and Jesper Lindstrom. 

A rapturous standing ovation met the former Inter and Tottenham playmaker when he was withdrawn by head coach Kasper Hjulmand in the 80th minute, bringing an emotional comeback to a close. 

Eriksen began speaking to the media after the final whistle but was pulled away by Schmeichel so he could take part in the celebrations with his team-mates. 

"This evening ranks high. And that reception gave me chills. Yes, it's hard to describe," Eriksen said to Discovery, before Schmeichel interrupted the interview so they could enjoy the occasion together.

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