Over the course of the weekend Manchester United completed two transfers to kick off the Erik Ten Hag era with the signing of Tyrell Malacia from Ten Hag’s former Ajax rivals Feyenoord on July 1st and on July 4th completed the signing of Danish International and former Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Christian Eriksen on a three year deal.
For Eriksen, his past 12 months have been a rollercoaster of emotions, which all stem from the Euro 2020 tournament which saw him collapse on the pitch following a cardiac arrest in a horrifying scene for all those in attendance and watching at home.
The Dane’s road to recovery was a long one but surely one that will inspire generations of football fans for years to come as he was near moments away from certain death and within nine months he would feature for Brentford FC and make 11 appearances this past season.
At 30 years of age and after suffering a life threatening injury it should be apparent that what Eriksen will bring to United is a lot different to what he brought his former clubs in Spurs and Inter Milan.
Eriksen has the ability to play all along the frontline in attack, deploying mostly either in an attacking midfield position or on either side of the midfield three, but at Brentford he mostly remained in more of a box to box number 8 role, bringing the ball up pitch and maintaining possession before playing deadly balls through to his attackers.
This transfer might seem great in practice but questions will surround how to fit the likes of Portuguese maestro Bruno Fernandes and Eriksen in the same side as the two of them have fairly similar styles of play.
Add this to the fact that the club is also desperately trying to lure another central midfielder in Frenkie de Jong away from Barcelona to join another rebuilding giant some more questions are being asked than answered.
No doubt the addition of Eriksen will surely give the side more of a creative spark as the Dane oozes class and control on the pitch, but United certainly cannot stop with him, especially following the reveal that Cristiano Ronaldo is looking to hightail it out of Manchester, due to a seeming lack of ambition from the club and with another season of Europa League football for the three time Champions League winners and CR7 near the end of his football career a chance to reclaim glory is at the forefront.
With news of the Eriksen transfer going through on Monday, this wasn’t the first transfer for Erik Ten Hag however as they signed Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord for a reported 15 million euros plus an extra two million euros in add-ons.
Malacia, 22, is a left sided fullback who will be given the opportunity to grow under Ten Hag and play under Luke Shaw and Alex Telles, and it will be seen if one of the two remain at United before the transfer window closes.
With Feyenoord, Malacia racked up 136 appearances for the first team, while also representing the side at all youth levels.
He surely will not be the first choice fullback to start the season, but given how poor the last season was from both Shaw and Telles, Malacia might not be out of the running to take the spot by the seasons end.
Malacia provides United with excellent athletic ability as provides great recovery pace and is also a fantastic one-on-one defender only getting dribbled past an average of 0.7 times over 90 minutes last season.
He can also bomb up the left flank with incredible speed and technical ability but his productivity in the final third leaves a lot to be desired and will definitely be worked on under Ten Hag.
The only downfall to Malacia’s defensive game is that he can overcommit to challenges and cheat into spaces in anticipation for making plays which he manages to flame out due to his speed and strength, but against stronger opponents in England he might get exposed if he doesn’t catch on quickly.
With these two signings it doesn’t appear that Ten Hag is fully tapped out of the transfer market just yet with questions surrounding moves for former Ajax players in Antony, Lisandro Martinez and Frenkie De Jong, it might appear Ten Hag is trying to obtain all the help he could get in what might be a season which will determine how well the new manager can right a sinking ship.