In the words of rocker Dr. John, in his 1970s megahit Right Place, Wrong Time, “I been in the right place, but it must have been the wrong time…I been in the wrong place, but it must have been the right time.”
Christian Eriksen joined Manchester United this summer, but he actually could have been in a Red Devils shirt on three different previous occasions.
The 30-year-old Danish midfielder revealed this weekend that had had previous conversations with past United managers Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer about transferring over Tottenham Hotspur.
It’s been a very long and arduous yet still tremendous journey for Eriksen to get to his place at Old Trafford. The Danish international was at Tottenham from 2013-2020, but he then moved over to Inter Milan, who released him after the serious health scare that Eriksen suffered while competing for Denmark at Euro 2020 (held in the summer of 2021).
When Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest in the midst of a match at the Euros, many feared for his life.
It was widely thought that he might never play football again, and hence Inter parted ways with him. Eventually, Christian Eriksen was medically cleared, and signed a short-term contract with newly promoted Brentford.
The Bees believed in him and he rewarded that belief by helping them stay up this season. When his contract expired, Brentford had hoped to re-sign him, but then United and Tottenham came calling.
However, Spurs never actually made a concrete offer to bring him back, he says.
“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,” Eriksen said.
“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.”
It looks like United is a great fit for him, and this coming together is actually years in the making.
“I’ve spoken to every manager who’s been here at Man United to see what the situation was,” Eriksen revealed.
“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.
“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.”
Eriksen then reflected on the roller coaster of the past year:
“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.”
It could be that his place is here, with MUFC, and the time is finally right.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.