Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Transfer Target: the playmaker United require?

By  Jonas Giæver (Follow me on Twitter)

As a Norwegian, I'm raised with not thinking too much of my fellow Scandinavians. Sure, we do support them when we're not in it to win ourselves, but there's a rivalry there that we're all familiar with. That goes away when watching Christian Eriksen. There has been a while since I've seen such a fantastic young player whose creativity and sheer elegance is just a joy to watch.

I remember hearing about Eriksen a few years ago when Chelsea were snooping around, and offered him a trial at the club. Despite being offered a deal at Stamford Bridge, Eriksen opted to go to the footballing Mecca in terms of developing talent; Ajax. Now, at age 20, he's one of those players you know every team has on their radar. Impressing in the Dutch league, as well as a brilliant showing against Croatia Zagreb in the Champions League, really opened many eyes to the flair and finesse this Danish trickster brings to the game.

One of the things I truly love about Eriksen is that he's always available. He always manages to ghost his way in between defenders, and loose up tight situations by acting as a shield and passing the ball along for the player in trouble. His abillity to pick out passes is one that is well documented, but his movement on the pitch is something only a true playmaker can do. Eriksen is an artist, the ball is his brush, and the pitch is his canvas. The way he moves the ball around is like watching Michaelangelo creating David or Hemingway finishing The Old Man and The Sea. They are masterpieces, and something which leaves you with a certain feeling of having witnessed a true work of glory take place.

Despite him being such an artist, I'm not quite sold on the Premier League offering him a canvas he could do wonders on. Sure, he's a bright talent and will eventually become one of the best, but there is something about that just does not sit well with me. He's not the worst at tracking back, and his slight frame has proven to be more useful than a disadvantage for him. Yet, there's a feeling of him not being ready yet. He has said he does not want to move too soon, and even though the luring tentacles of Manchester United and Barcelona are attractive to any talent, it may be wise for Eriksen to stay at Ajax for another season. I sat down and tried to find one player who had excelled from Ajax who had failed in Europe. I have yet to discover anyone who was touted as "the next big thing" at Ajax who went out and flunked it. Eriksen will come good, he just needs the experience a club like Ajax can provide him.

If he was to move to United, however, he would be able to work in a 4-4-2 seeing as Rooney drops as deep as he does in defence. Eriksen enjoys being in the hole between midfield and attack, and would free up Rooney to act more as a second striker, than a trequartista. Eriksen's big plus is his vision, and would play through a roaring Danny Welbeck, and a sneaky Javier Hernández without any trouble. His way of dancing across defences would split defences open, and would give both strikers the room they would need to finish. Picking him up is easier said and done, and it's perhaps his abillity to keep defenders guessing that is absolutely stunning for a player of his age. Remember, it took Luka Modric some time to adapt to England as well. He played the similar role as Eriksen did while still playing domestic football in Croatia, and managed to develop himself into a midfielder than can basically do it all. Who's to say Eriksen can't do the same?

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