THE great fairytales rarely involve a switch from the San Siro to the shadows of the Chiswick Flyover.
But if Brentford agree a deal to sign Christian Eriksen, it would be the most intriguing and inspiring story of the transfer window.
Brentford have offered Christian Eriksen the chance of a Premier League return
We talk often about great comebacks being the essence of great sport.
And yet we are not usually talking about a man ‘dying’ for five minutes on a football pitch, then turning up to play in the Premier League seven months later.
Nobody who tuned in to watch Denmark versus Finland at last summer’s Euros will ever forget the traumatic hour which followed the Danish playmaker’s collapse, due to a cardiac arrest, as we waited to discover whether an elite 29-year-old athlete was still breathing.
Those of us who were at White Hart Lane when Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba suffered a similar collapse in 2012 experienced chilling flashbacks.
Of that 35,000 crowd falling so suddenly, and impossibly, silent.
In the press seats that night we wrote pieces on the horrific drama, not knowing whether Muamba would be alive or dead when our newspapers hit the stands the following Sunday morning.
That Muamba never played football again was a given. That he lived, and that he remains fit and healthy, felt like enough.
After Eriksen’s collapse, it was a largely unwritten but accepted fact that his playing career was over.
Eriksen was fitted with an implantable defibrillator — which precluded him playing professional sport under Italian law and led to his inevitable departure from Inter Milan, where he won the Scudetto under Antonio Conte last season.
Yet there is no such legal block in England and Eriksen, backed by medical advice, believes he can play at the top level — with his stated aim to represent Denmark at the Qatar World Cup in November.
That still feels like a serious long shot and yet Brentford’s offer of a six-month contract is a serious one.
The Bees’ Danish manager Thomas Frank already employs eight of his compatriots on his playing staff, so the Brentford Community Stadium, beneath that elevated section of the M4, would provide a home from home for Eriksen.
The Premier League new-boys have already provided a series of feel-good stories this season — their opening-night victory over Arsenal, their thrilling 3-3 draw with Liverpool and the way they dominated Chelsea in a narrow defeat by the European champions.
Yet none of that would compare to the sight of Eriksen emerging from the subs’ bench to make his comeback in a top-flight match.
Christian Eriksen collapsed during Denmark’s opening game at last summer’s EurosCredit: EPA
There was an outpouring of love and support for Christian Eriksen after the horror incidentCredit: Reuters
Brentford are media darlings, aided by excellent PR, and, yes, there might be an element of the Bees playing up to their nice-guy image here. Still, what’s wrong with being nice?
And other Premier League clubs have also shown interest in the prospect of signing Eriksen.
This is a wonderfully gifted footballer, blessed with rare intelligence and subtlety.
And, to be brutally frank, he will be available for a fraction of his former wages.
It still feels unlikely that the former Tottenham player will be able to have a significant influence on Premier League matches again but it is surely worth a punt.
And what a story if it does come off. If Eriksen does enough to secure a longer-term contract and then travels to Qatar with Denmark.
Football is a cynical old business — and usually never more so than when the transfer window is open.
So we could all do with a signing to gladden the soul.
Gib ’em a break
MIDDLESBROUGH owner Steve Gibson has always been seen as a proper, decent football fan.
So why is he seemingly hell-bent on trying to drive Derby County out of existence?
Gibson wants £45million in compensation from Derby as previous owner Mel Morris flouted Financial Fair Play rules in 2018-19.
That season the Rams bagged the final play-off spot with Boro a point and place behind.
This £45m represents a quarter of the money Boro would have earned if they’d finished sixth and won promotion.
Middlesbrough owner Steve Gibson wants £45million in compensation from DerbyCredit: Getty Images – Getty
But given Boro were 17th the next season, and needed to beat Leeds and Aston Villa to secure that promotion, it seems like fanciful, ambulance-chasing stuff.
Derby are in administration and face relegation to League One after a 21-point deduction.
Gibson’s legal bid and one from Wycombe, relegated last season with Derby staying up, could liquidate County.
Why doesn’t Gibson just call off the dogs?
AFTER Rafa Benitez was sacked by Everton, Watford boss Claudio Ranieri told us: “Maybe you are not used to it in England.
“But in Italy they change managers like they buy an ice cream.”
Mate, they are used to it at Watford. And you haven’t won in eight matches.
Bat’s so sad
AS someone who played cricket for the worst state school in Romford, it is saddening to see the game now regarded — quite legitimately — as one for posh boys only.
Cricket is almost non-existent in state schools and those educated in state schools are almost non-existent in the England team.
While the racism crisis shows a lack of inclusivity extends beyond class and wealth.
England’s Ashes tour ended in a 4-0 defeat against AustraliaCredit: AP
So it is not just a case of mourning a calamitous Ashes tour.
Cricket is now slipping away from our national consciousness as it did in the West Indies a generation ago.
It may never return.
TWELVE Premier League wins straight, 11 points clear at the top in January, just imagine if Manchester City did have an actual centre-forward.
And just imagine how uncompetitive the league might become if they do sign one next season…
“TO suspect your own mortality is to know the beginning of terror,” wrote the American author Frank Herbert.
He never lived long enough to experience the shock of discovering that D’Margio Wright-Phillips — the 20-year-old GRANDSON of Ian Wright — was man of the match for Stoke City on Sunday.
We are all getting old, my friends.
MANCHESTER UNITED began this season as supposed title contenders.
Yet now they are locked in a battle for fourth place with one club who bottle derby matches, another whose manager seems to want out after just ten weeks in charge and a third who keep bashing their head on a glass ceiling.
Cristiano Ronaldo was right to say that United should never settle with challenging for fourth.
But if they can’t even elevate themselves above Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham, then the Ralf Rangnick experiment will have been even worse than the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer one.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United are in a battle to make the top fourCredit: PA
I WATCHED Andy Carroll score the best two goals of the match in a 7-0 home defeat last week — both were worldies, ruled out by narrow offside calls — while Reading were just a goal down to Fulham.
But the big Geordie beefcake, earning peanuts at Reading, still looks a serious player and if Burnley don’t look to sign him to aid their bid to escape relegation, they will have missed a trick.
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