Eriksen to Arsenal: A Realistic ‘Betrayal’?
Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil is a forgotten man, but the hole he seems set to leave behind in January will still be a sizeable one. Luckily, there is a perfect – and superior – replacement whose signature would represent a bold and ambitious move for Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.
For a long time, it has merely been a question of when, and not ‘if’, Inter Milan midfielder Christian Eriksen leaves the San Siro, and the Dane will doubtless enjoy the lion’s share of the transfer columns in the New Year.
Strong cases for and against an Arsenal move
Given Eriksen’s rich history with Arsenal’s local rivals Tottenham, the links to a Premier League return will be plentiful and regular. At present, Manchester United and Tottenham are considered frontrunners if he is to return to England, but even then, his hopes of a Premier League title appear slim, with Manchester United’s own title odds lengthening greatly over the past month.
Arsenal, meanwhile, know that their standing amongst Premier League outrights contrasts greatly with their favourable odds to win the Europa League. That can only work against them in their pursuit of such a valuable player at his peak, even if they are joint-favourites with Tottenham to lift the latter trophy.
Even though those that bet on football at Space Casino can see how far behind Arsenal have fallen in comparison to their peers in the former ‘big four’, the Gunners still have a distinct pull factor. Above all other ‘big’ clubs, Arsenal offer a vacancy, where none exists at Chelsea, or any clubs in the north west with a bigger war chest, better midfield trios, and a firm foothold in the Champions League already.
Despite enduring a very indifferent spell with Inter so far, Eriksen would have plenty of opportunities to re-emerge as a major force in the Premier League. Only the foolish would underestimate him, especially with Spurs boasting a win-rate of 62.32 percent from his goalscoring games, and Eriksen himself seeing nearly a third (31.88 percent) of his goals for Spurs act decisively in victory.
Longing for halcyon days can motivate Arteta
With Eriksen being an integral part of the Tottenham squad that finished second in 2016/17, any move to Arsenal would rock the very foundations of the winter transfer market. Whether directly or via another club, playing for Arsenal after a lengthy spell with Tottenham is the ultimate act of betrayal. Nobody has made that move since Campbell did so in 2001, with the former England captain infamously and ruthlessly turning his back on nine years of service at White Hart Lane.
The links between Ozil and a move to LA Galaxy strengthen by the day, but so too does the overriding feeling that Arsenal remain woefully short on star quality, particularly in the attacking midfield area. Quite rightly, this rankles most Arsenal fans as a gross injustice, with the Gunners’ midfield formerly containing some of the greatest talents ever seen in Premier League lore.
The days of witnessing Robert Pires, Marc Overmars or Patrick Vieira dominating the middle of the park are long gone, and a long way off returning – if ever. Yet, where there is mutual desperation for a player and his club to part ways, so too is there a chance of a true bargain that could reignite the glory days in the red half of North London.