Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd mocked over Eriksen move with Ten Hag told which major star Dane must never play alongside

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen

Man Utd have been told why their move for Christian Eriksen won’t help overhaul the big hitters amid a claim the Dane must never play alongside a current fan favourite.

The Red Devils have forged a verbal agreement to sign Christian Eriksen. The midfield maestro had been torn over whether to remain at Brentford or join Manchester United. However, the Athletic led the way with their announcement Eriksen has said yes to United.

Erik ten Hag was deemed a key factor behind the United breakthrough, according to Fabrizio Romano. A three-year deal is expected to be signed once a medical is passed.

Eriksen was the catalyst behind Brentford’s charge towards safety last season. The former Tottenham favourite clearly has plenty left to give, though one pundit is insistent Eriksen is not the type of player United require.

Speaking on talkSPORT, former Liverpool midfielder, Danny Murphy, reckons Eriksen won’t even be selected in matches against the big boys.

“It’s a difficult one because I really like Eriksen,” said Murphy. “I’ve always admired him in terms of his creativity and the way he’s free with his football and tries things.

“Would it excite me if I was a United fan? He’s going to be a squad player, isn’t he? He’s not going to play instead of [Bruno] Fernandes.”

When asked if Eriksen is a world class player, Murphy replied: “No. He’s a welcome addition to any squad because he has experience and he has quality, but if you’re looking at the big games where United compete with Liverpool, City and Chelsea, is he going to play in their first 11?

“No, is the answer, if they want to be competitive.”

‘You can’t play Eriksen and Fernandes’ – Murphy

Ten Hag will have an embarrassment of riches in the creative midfield department if both Eriksen and Frenkie de Jong sign. Bruno Fernandes has been their creator-in-chief since arriving from Sporting Lisbon and will be difficult to displace.

Precisely how Ten Hag will put the pieces of the puzzle together isn’t yet clear. Though in Murphy’s mind, Eriksen simply cannot play alongside Fernandes if United have any hope of being competitive.

“You can’t play him and Fernandes,” exclaimed Murphy. “He’s a number 10 or a number 8. [Paul] Pogba and Fernandes played together on occasion, but not very often and that’s why United were so easy to play against at times.

Bruno Fernandes reacting during a Manchester United match

“If they have two holding players or get [Frenkie] De Jong in, Eriksen could temporarily play as a holding midfielder, but he’s not a holding midfielder.

“He’s not going to be instead of De Jong. They’ll go for someone like De Jong if they can’t get him.

“For Eriksen it’s a wonderful opportunity to be at a huge club again after everything he’s been through.

“I can understand why he’d go there, I understand why the draw of Man United would get him over the line, but in the cold light of day if they want to be competitive with Liverpool, City and Chelsea, that’s not the type of signing that United should be making.”

Ten Hag conundrum a welcome one

While it will be difficult to decide which and how many creative players to field, it is a far more welcome problem than the reverse.

Ralf Rangnick only had Fernandes and Pogba to choose from with regards to creative, central players. Pogba spent the vast majority of his final season at Old Trafford injured anyway.

That left the current Austria boss resigned to fielding the maligned Scott McTominay-Fred partnership most weeks with Fernandes deployed behind the striker.

A De-Jong-Eriksen double pivot with Fernandes in front would likely leave United short on defensive nous and legs in the engine room.

Alternatively, Eriksen may be used primarily as the back-up to Fernandes. He could also play on the edge of a midfield three with one of McTominay or Fred holding and De Jong the other side.

Ten Hag clearly has plenty of options at his disposal now, especially if De Jong arrives. The key will be finding the right balance.