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.

Christian Eriksen will captain Denmark when he returns to Parken in a friendly against Serbia on Tuesday. 

It will be the first time Eriksen has played in the stadium since he suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark's Euro 2020 group game against Finland last June. 

The 30-year-old had to have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator fitted, which made him ineligible to play in Italy and resulted in him leaving Inter for Brentford.

He returned to competitive action in the Bees' 2-0 loss to Newcastle United in February, and scored within two minutes of being introduced as a half-time substitute on his international comeback against the Netherlands in Amsterdam last week. 

Eriksen will now have the honour of captaining his country when he steps back onto the pitch at Parken. 

"It will definitely be very special because I have not been to Parken since it happened," he said. "Now, I'm really looking forward to being back on the pitch and being a football player again. 

"That's what it's about for me. But, I also look forward to the fact that after the match, we can put it behind us. 

"It will be very emotional and very special, but I am looking forward to it because it is something positive we are talking about." 

Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand revealed that Kasper Schmeichel, who has skippered the side in the absence of the injured Simon Kjaer, approached him to ask that Eriksen be given the armband. 

"It's great to have him back. We've missed him," Schmeichel added. "It's not only on the pitch - we all saw what he can bring in the second half against the Netherlands – but also off the pitch. Something was missing."

Christian Eriksen says his comeback goal against the Netherlands was "just a warm-up", as he prepares to make a "special" return to Copenhagen with Denmark.

Eriksen will make his long-awaited return to the Parken Stadium, where he suffered a cardiac arrest during his country's Euro 2020 clash with Finland in June 2021, when Denmark host Serbia in a friendly on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old made an incredible return to international football on Saturday, scoring 114 seconds after coming on as a substitute during Denmark's 4-2 loss to the Netherlands. 

Having netted with a fine right-footed finish into the top corner at the Johan Cruyff Arena, the stadium where he began his club career with Ajax, the Brentford midfielder is now looking forward to what is sure to be an emotional return to home turf.

"That [the Serbia match] will be even more special," Eriksen told Danish TV station Kanal 5.

"[Saturday's goal] was just a warm-up for Tuesday, when I'll be running in exactly the place where it happened."

 

Kasper Hjulmand has already confirmed that Eriksen, who joined Brentford after being left unable to play for former club Inter due to Serie A rules around his implanted cardioverter-defibrillator device, will start the much-awaited contest.

Denmark qualified for this year's World Cup in eye-catching style, picking up 27 points from their 10 qualification games, and Eriksen is looking forward to competing in Qatar.

The 30-year-old also thanked the Dutch fans for the standing ovation he received upon his return to international football.

"To start the comeback in international football like this was the perfect way," Eriksen told Sky Sports on Saturday.

"I felt very welcome. I've been here before for many years so, of course, they [the fans] know me, but it was a very heart-warming reception for sure.

"I'm looking forward to playing at the Qatar World Cup, but there are a lot of games in between and I'm focused on them."

Matthijs de Ligt said he "got goosebumps" when Christian Eriksen took to the pitch during Saturday's friendly between the Netherlands and Denmark.

Eriksen had not played for his country since suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch in Copenhagen during Euro 2020 last year.

Yet the former Tottenham and Inter playmaker, who is now back in action with Brentford, returned after a 287-day absence and scored with his very first touch just 114 seconds after coming on as a substitute.

Eriksen, fittingly playing at the stadium where he made his name for Ajax, almost netted a second when a long-range shot hit the woodwork but, with his goal having reduced the arrears to 3-2, it was the hosts who went on to edge out a thrilling contest 4-2 at the Johan Cruijff ArenA.

 

For Dutch centre-back De Ligt, however, playing against the 30-year-old was difficult. Nevertheless, the Juventus defender is thrilled to see the Dane back.

"It's not easy to tackle Eriksen, when he came on the pitch I had the skin go... I got goosebumps," De Ligt told reporters.

"We are players but also human beings, in those moments you have to think about playing, but it's clear that we are all happy that he is back playing at this level."

Eriksen did not create a chance for Kasper Hjulmand's side, but did put in a joint team-high three crosses (all from set-pieces) and completed 31 of his 36 attempted passes.

Christian Eriksen could not hide his delight after scoring on his return to international football, despite Denmark's 4-2 loss away to the Netherlands on Saturday, saying he "felt like a footballer" again.

Following his cardiac arrest during Denmark's opening group game against Finland at Euro 2020, Eriksen found the net within two minutes of coming onto the pitch to joyfully end a 287-day absence.

He almost scored a second in his return match, rattling the frame of the goal from long distance.

Yet simply being on the pitch for Denmark provided satisfaction for Eriksen.

"I felt like a footballer again. I have been away internationally for so long," he told NOS.

"I'm just very happy to be back. To also score is that little bit extra, it gives a wonderful feeling. I was looking forward to it."

A warm reception for the former Tottenham and Inter man was inevitable, but playing in the city and stadium where he made his name – having spent five years at Ajax – made for a particularly special moment, Eriksen sharing an embrace with former Ajax team-mate Daley Blind, who continues to play with a heart defibrillator.

For Eriksen, rhe only thing that could have added to the occasion would have been a second goal.

"It's great that I scored, but I would rather have scored two. It's a shame the ball didn't go in," he said.

"I had wonderful years here and I remembered where the goal was here in the Arena."

Denmark will finish their international window when they host Serbia on Tuesday.

Christian Eriksen scored two minutes into his international comeback as Denmark fell to a 4-2 loss against the Netherlands in Saturday's friendly at Johan Cruijff ArenA.

The midfielder was back in Denmark's squad for the first time since suffering a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020 and made an instant impact after being brought on at half-time.

Eriksen's well-taken goal, coming at the ground where he made a name for himself with Ajax, got Denmark back into the game after the hosts opened up a 3-1 lead at the break.

Steven Bergwijn and Nathan Ake netted either side of Jannik Vestergaard's leveller before Memphis Depay converted a penalty, with Bergwijn rounding things off after Eriksen's strike.

 

The Netherlands had already tested Kasper Schmeichel three times before Bergwijn met Daley Blind's left-sided cross and headed in a 16th-minute opener.

Denmark's response was a swift one, with Joakim Maehle sending in a cross for Vestergaard to glance in a leveller four minutes later after Jesper Lindstrom's free-kick was blocked.

Ake restored the Netherlands' lead shortly before the half-hour mark with another headed goal, finishing from close range once picked out by a fine Steven Berghuis delivery.

Louis van Gaal's men had some breathing space before the interval thanks to a Depay penalty, which was awarded for Vestergaard's challenge on Berghuis.

Denmark lost Yussuf Poulsen and Thomas Delaney to injury but were given a lifeline when Eriksen converted fellow substitute Andreas Skov Olsen's pass with a first-time finish.

Bergwijn's curled effort with 20 minutes to go ended Denmark's hopes of claiming a draw, though there was still time for Eriksen to send a long-range shot off the post.

Christian Eriksen has tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of his long-awaited return to the Danish national team next week.

The 30-year-old, who suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark's Euro 2020 clash with Finland last June, has impressed since joining Brentford on a free transfer in January.

He registered an assist during the Bees' 2-0 win over Burnley this month with what was his first goal involvement since his return to football.

Eriksen's strong club form led him to receive a call-up for his country's upcoming friendly matches, but the positive test will delay the midfielder's journey to meet up with the squad.

Although, Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand hopes the Brentford man will still be available to feature in clashes against the Netherlands – to be played at the home of Eriksen's former club Ajax – and against Serbia in Copenhagen. 

"We've been running dialogue with Christian and Brentford on the situation," Hjulmand said.

"We expect to see Christian as soon as possible, later in the week. 

"We are happy to get him in the team and expect to have him with us for the exciting friendly matches against Holland and Serbia."

The creative midfielder's positive test ruled him out of Brentford' Premier League clash with Leicester City on Sunday, despite Bees boss Thomas Frank claiming during his pre-match media duties that Eriksen had since returned a negative test result.

Eriksen has earned 109 caps for Denmark – putting him 20 appearances short of Peter Schmeichel's record of 129 outings for his country – and has scored 36 international goals.

Christian Eriksen has been named in Denmark's squad for their upcoming friendlies, capping a remarkable return for the playmaker after suffering a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020.

The 30-year-old's career looked to be over just nine months ago when collapsing on the pitch in Denmark's group-stage clash with Finland in Copenhagen.

He subsequently underwent an operation to have an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) fitted, which left him unable to feature for former club Inter due to Serie A rulings.

However, after spending time building up his fitness with boyhood club Odense and Ajax's reserve side, Eriksen was handed a six-month contract with Brentford in January. 

And having featured three times for his new club in what is his second spell in the Premier League, the former Tottenham midfielder is now back in the Denmark fold.

Eriksen was part of the 23-man squad named by Kasper Hjulmand on Tuesday ahead of friendlies against the Netherlands and Serbia later this month.

"He is 100 per cent ready and is where he needs to be," Hjulmand said of Eriksen, who has 109 caps to his name.

Denmark have already booked their place at the 2022 World Cup, which Eriksen may now be a part of following this latest chapter in his incredible return to the pitch.

Also included in Denmark's latest squad is Preston North End goalkeeper Daniel Iversen, who is in line for his senior debut, while Barcelona's Martin Braithwaite has been left out.

The Red and Whites take on the Netherlands in Amsterdam on March 26 and host Serbia at Parken Stadium three days later.


Denmark squad:

Kasper Schmeichel, Frederik, Ronnow, Daniel Iversen, Rasmus Nissen, Alexander Bah, Joachim Andersen, Victor Nelsson, Andreas Christensen, Jannik Vestergaard, Joakim Maehle, Christian Eriksen, Philip Billing, Christian Norgaard, Pierre Emile Hojbjerg, Mathias Jenney, Thomas Dela, Jesper Lindstrom, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Kasper Dolberg, Andreas Cornelius, Jonas Wind, Andreas Skov Olsen, Yussuf Yurary

Brandon Williams explained his decision to hug Christian Eriksen during Norwich City's recent 3-1 defeat to Brentford was pure instinct following the Dane's ordeal.

A video clip went viral on Saturday after a comical and heart-warming moment between Williams and Eriksen, who initially looked set for an angry tussle.

Eriksen grappled with Williams in an attempt to halt a Norwich attack, and the two players fell to the floor in a pile.

Williams' reaction suggested anger as he appeared about to pin the midfielder down, but upon realising who it was he was tussling with, he instead gave Eriksen a hug – the latter's confused smile as he got up said it all about the amusing exchange.

Four days on, Norwich defender Williams has spoken publicly about his gesture, which he says came from a place of awe following Eriksen's return to the football pitch less than a year after suffering a cardiac arrest while playing for Denmark at Euro 2020.

"Obviously, it was just a moment that happened, it was just instincts," Williams told Sky Sports.

"I got past him and I felt him pull me down, so we were on the attack and I was really angry.

"I was going to…hold him, but I know what he's been through, and it's incredible what he's done, and he's back now.

"It was something special for him to be on the pitch for himself, and to be involved in that, I felt like he needed a hug.

"[Eriksen's health emergency] is something that no player wants to go through, it was amazing that he's back and he's a top quality player. I'm sure he'll be back to his best very soon."

Page 3 of 8
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.