Brentford Gives Eriksen Comeback Chance; City Signs Alvarez

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
February 1, 2022 Updated: February 1, 2022

With a thumbs up to the camera, Christian Eriksen revealed the team for his return to soccer, almost eight months after collapsing from cardiac arrest at the European Championship.

“I’m happy to announce that I’ve signed for Brentford Football Club,” Eriksen said in Monday’s social media video. “I can’t wait to get started.”

It will be a remarkable playing comeback to the English Premier League for the Denmark playmaker, who has said he was essentially dead for five minutes after collapsing in the opening Euro 2020 game against Finland.

The uplifting signing was the headline announcement on the final day of the January transfer window in the Premier League, which also saw Manchester City and Tottenham bring in internationals from South America, and Burnley recruit a much-needed striker in its bid to avoid relegation.

It was Eriksen who captured the spotlight, though, after signing with Brentford until the end of the season to secure a return to England, where he played with Tottenham until joining Inter Milan two years ago and winning the Serie A.

The west London club will feel like home. The 29-year-old Eriksen is being reunited with Thomas Frank, the Brentford manager who coached him when playing for Denmark Under-17s. He will also be the ninth Dane in the club’s squad.

“We have taken an unbelievable opportunity to bring a world-class player to Brentford,” Frank said. “He hasn’t trained with a team for seven months but has done a lot of work on his own. He is fit but we will need to get him match fit and I am looking forward to seeing him work with the players and staff to get back towards his highest level.”

Frank will be hoping Eriksen provides a further lift for a team impressing in its first-ever campaign in the Premier League, sitting eight points above the relegation zone with 15 games remaining.

“At his best, Christian has the ability to dictate games of football,” Frank said. “He can find the right passes and is a goal threat. He also has very, very good set-piece delivery, both from corners and direct free kicks.

“He is a player you can find with the ball, and he will come up with a solution to the problem in front of him.”

Eriksen’s contract with Inter Milan was terminated by mutual agreement in December since Italian regulations prevented him from playing with the implantable cardioverter-defibrillator that was fitted. He was recently training to regain fitness at Ajax, the Dutch club where he began his career.

Brentford said it would “respect Christian’s medical confidentiality” by not divulging further information beyond only saying he recently received coronavirus vaccines that allow him to comply with entry rules to Britain.

Eriksen is set to fly into London this week but not immediately train with Brentford.

Alvarez to City

Manchester City has another Argentine striker on its books.

Julian Alvarez has signed a 5.5-year deal from River Plate, where he will remain on loan at least until July.

Alvarez could end up being the long-term replacement for City great Sergio Aguero, who left the club in the offseason after 10 years and has since retired.

“He is capable of operating in a number of attacking roles,” City director of football Txiki Begiristain said, “and we firmly believe he’s one of the best young attacking players in South America.”

The 22-year-old Alvarez has played five times for Argentina and helped River win the domestic title last year, when he scored 26 goals in all competitions for club and country.

Tottenham’s Midfield

Tottenham overhauled the squad on a busy deadline day.

There were two additions from Juventus with Uruguay midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur joining on a contract until 2026 and Sweden winger Dejan Kulusevksi on an 18-month loan deal.

Four players were offloaded, with Dele Alli leaving for Everton after seven years at Tottenham.

Tanguy Ndombele, who has been a disappointment since joining Tottenham from Lyon in 2019 for a club-record 60 million euros ($67 million), returned to the French club. Lyon has paid 1.42 million euros ($1.59 million) to get him on loan with an option to sign him on a permanent move in June.

Bryan Gil, who has struggled for game time since joining from Sevilla in the offseason, is back in Spain at Valencia until the end of the season. Giovani Lo Celso was also sent on loan to Villarreal.

Arsenal’s Future

While Arsenal was busy trying to release striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona, the north London club completed a deal to sign Auston Trusty from the Colorado Rapids. The 23-year-old defender was immediately loaned back until July to the American club which is also owned by Stan Kroenke.

Van Beek’s Escape

Frank Lampard’s first signing as Everton manager was bringing in Donny van de Beek on loan from Manchester United. The 24-year-old Netherlands midfielder has made only four Premier League starts—none this season—since being signed by United in 2020 from Ajax.

Newcastle’s Quartet

Newcastle signed defender Dan Burn from Brighton and fullback Matt Targett on loan from Aston Villa for the rest of the season. It means five players moved to St. James’ Park in January at a cost of more than $120 million as the club’s Saudi ownership made its presence felt in the first transfer window since largely gaining control of the northeast club in October.

Burnley’s New Striker

Burnley signed Netherlands striker Wout Weghorst to lead its attack having been forced to sell Chris Wood to rival Newcastle two weeks ago.

Weghorst, who joins from German team Wolfsburg, is a 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) striker with aerial qualities that should suit Burnley, which often uses a direct, long-ball approach.

Wood left Burnley after Newcastle triggered the release clause of 25 million pounds ($34.5 million) in his contract. Burnley is in last place, three points behind third-to-last Newcastle and four points from safety.

By Rob Harris