We continue our look at players linked with Liverpool. Last time out we profiled Vitesse striker Wilfried Bony. Here Ajax attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen is under the spotlight.
Christian Eriksen, born 14 February 1992, 5 foot 9 inches of Danish magic. Many readers will be well aware of the player and even casual fans should be aware of the name. Eriksen is the baby faced mega star of the current Danish National side and Ajax Amsterdam, and is generally recognised as one of the true world class talents in his age group.
But why should we be interested? At Liverpool we currently have a great selection of centre mids with Gerrard, Sahin, Allen and Lucas all being ‘world class’ and great younger players such as Henderson, Shelvey and Suso all deserving chances to play in our midfield. Well the answer as to why we should take a look at Eriksen is down to a current craze in football termed the “false 9”.
The false 9 as it is called probably isn’t really all that new in football but it is a formation that is starting to become very popular due to its effectiveness right now. There are several ways to implement a false 9 formation but one version that recently worked very well against us was used by Swansea to great effect with Michu and De Guzman, this version the false 9 plays as a supporting striker floating and roaming whilst the attacking midfielder pushes up into the box and has a remit for being a goal threat.
The reason we should want Eriksen is because we currently have perhaps the best false 9 in the game after Messi – Luis Suarez! Suarez is playing central for us this season and is doing rather well there! What we have an issue with is the attacking midfield role. Gerrard should be perfect for the role however in recent seasons Gerrard seems to be dropping deeper and developing into the next Alonso instead of playing in the way that made him famous. Shelvey and Suso could play the role but are young players just breaking through and are maybe not quite ready for such a spotlight. Suso started in the role against Wigan but was withdrawn after just 36 minutes.
Eriksen is a young player too however he has already had the spotlight on him for quite some time for club and country. Earlier on in his youthful and so far quite short career Eriksen was seen more as a deeper playmaker in the Sahin or Modric style role however this season Eriksen has become more attacking. He now quite competently fulfills either the attacking midfield or the false 9 role for Ajax in most games.
Eriksen has so far this season scored 5 goals and made 8 assists in 16 games. The idea of combining him and Suarez could be a winner. He could even play in place of Suarez as the false 9 with maybe Shelvey in attacking midfield if need be which gives us depth and options, something we are currently short of.
Will we be after Eriksen though? It is a valid question and one I don’t pretend to know the answer too, all I do know is that Rodgers was in charge of the youth team when Eriksen had two successful trials at Chelsea but chose senior football at Ajax instead of youth football at Chelsea. We also have his old club team mate in Suarez and his national captain in Agger so he should be able to settle fairly quickly. Eriksen seems to be a reasonably safe bet as being a player up for sale and Ajax seem quite open to the idea of losing their star. The price may well be quite steep though as he may cost between £15-20 million. However if there was ever a signing that matches FSG’s recruitment policy it is definitely Eriksen.