How Christian Eriksen injury could impact Man Utd January transfer plans

We assess whether Manchester United will be forced into the market following Christian Eriksen’s ankle injury.

Manchester United had looked set for a quiet end to the transfer window, but there’s now concern surrounding their midfield options following the ankle injury Christian Eriksen sustained on Saturday.

The midfielder was replaced in the second half of United’s FA Cup fourth-round win over Reading, and there are fears he may have suffered a serious injury. Eriksen has become a key component of Erik ten Hag’s side and has missed just one game in all competitions so far this season.

The Red Devils also aren’t stacked when it comes to midfield resources, with Donny van de Beek’s knee injury ruling him out for the remainder of the season. Therefore, United may be forced into the market to bring in a back-up option. Here’s everything you need to know about Eriksen’s injury and United’s chances of making a move before Tuesday’s transfer deadline.

What happened to Eriksen?

Eriksen was crocked by Andy Carroll early in the second half of the 3-1 win over Reading, with the former Newcastle United and Liverpool striker performing a dangerous scissor tackle which remarkably wasn’t punished with a booking.

However, Carroll was shown two yellow cards within the next 10 minutes for reckless fouls, the second seeing him slide in on Casemiro. Eriksen had been replaced by that stage, with the Danish international withdrawn a few minutes after the rash lunge from Carroll. Eriksen was then seen leaving the ground on crutches and wearing a protective boot, leading to fears he has sustained a serious injury.

What’s been said?

Speaking after the match, Ten Hag was asked about Eriksen’s injury. “It is always difficult to say in this moment, so short after the game finished, but it is an ankle and we have to see what is the diagnosis,” he responded. “It will be a minimum of 24 hours before we know that and then I can say more.”

Ten Hag could give an update on Eriksen on Friday. Credit: Getty.Ten Hag could give an update on Eriksen on Friday. Credit: Getty.
Ten Hag could give an update on Eriksen on Friday. Credit: Getty.

When will we find out extent of ankle injury?

Ten Hag will address the media on Tuesday at 12:30pm ahead of the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Nottingham Forest. It’s likely he’ll be asked about the extent of Eriksen’s injury.

Man Utd midfield options

Should Eriksen be out for an extended period of time, that will leave United with just four senior midfielders to fill three starting roles. Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes are staples under Ten Hag, with Fred likely to be Eriksen’s replacement in the team. Scott McTominay is the final midfield choice, although he’s struggled for minutes in recent months.

Youngsters Zidane Iqbal and Kobbie Mainoo have played this season, but neither are deemed ready for regular top-flight football. Hannibal is another option, and United could opt to recall him from his loan at Birmingham City.

Will Man Utd sign another midfielder before the deadline?

It looks almost impossible for United to complete any significant signings before Tuesday’s deadline, partly due to the lack of time left, but also because transfer funds are limited at present. Ten Hag admitted earlier this window that any signings will have to fit the club’s ‘financial criteria’, while the decision to bring in Wout Weghorst on a short-term deal also shows United aren’t in a position to spend at present.

Therefore, any midfield signings would have to be loans or cut-price deals, something which looks unlikely for the likes of Adrien Rabiot and Ryan Gravenberch, who have been linked with a move. However, hopes of luring Youri Tielemans to Old Trafford look more plausible given his contract expires in the summer and Leicester City could be willing to accept a significantly reduced fee. Several outlets have claimed the Belgian is a target for the Red Devils.