Christian Eriksen revealed he held talks with all three permanent Man Utd managers before Erik ten Hag finally succeeded in bringing him to Old Trafford.
The Danish playmaker, 30, brought a smile to everyone’s faces upon returning to the Premier League in January. Eriksen joined Brentford on a six-month deal after failing to gain permission to continue his club career with Inter Milan in Italy.
Eriksen excelled with the Bees and quickly laid to rest any concerns over how he’d cope in the aftermath of his traumatic cardiac arrest at Euro 2020.
Manchester United, Tottenham and Brentford were the three clubs most heavily linked with offering him a contract when his Brentford deal expired. When all was said and done, it was the Red Devils that emerged victorious.
Now, speaking to the Telegraph, Eriksen revealed he had in fact held talks with former United bosses Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
All three seemingly wanted to bring Eriksen on board during his Tottenham days. However, where that trio failed, Erik ten Hag succeeded.
Eriksen said: “Even when I was at Spurs, I’ve spoken to every manager who’s been here at Man United to see what the situation was.
“But I was at Spurs at the time and I really couldn’t see myself playing in another English team at that time. I went abroad and went to Inter.
“So, it’s been on the books, well, not on the books but it’s been spoken about. For me, it wasn’t the right timing, it wasn’t there and I was at a place at Spurs for a long time and I wanted to try something abroad and I went to Inter and ended up having a lovely time.
“But then obviously something happened in the summer and that changed a bit the career path I had in mind, and then obviously to come back to Brentford, first of all, and then to be here is something I didn’t think could happen a year ago.”
How close did Tottenham come to reunion?
Antonio Conte appeared to lay the foundations for an Eriksen reunion in north London earlier this year.
Conte was at the Inter helm when Eriksen moved to Serie A and the return of Champions League football heightened the need for depth at Spurs.
However, Eriksen insisted Tottenham were never serious in their efforts to re-sign him this summer, describing them as “only talk”.
“[Returning to Tottenham] was only talk,” added Eriksen. “They never really came with anything so it wasn’t really a thing for me to go back to Tottenham at the time and Man United were very early on, very positive and I had good conversations.
“It was very positive from the first few phone calls already and the club felt like they wanted me, so it was on for a long time.”
Eriksen importance cannot be understated
If United finally land Frenkie de Jong, Eriksen arguably doesn’t make their strongest starting eleven.
Bruno Fernandes will occupy the No.10 role with De Jong partnering either Fred or Scott McTominay at the base of midfield.
However, the De Jong saga has dragged on into its third month and few would be surprised to see it ultimately end in failure.
United would likely target an alternative in that scenario. Indeed, Napoli’s Fabian Ruiz has been touted.
However, Eriksen may have the edge over United’s secondary targets that also include Youri Tielemans. If De Jong eludes United, Eriksen could have a far greater role to play this season than even he might’ve imagined.