Brentford have agreed a £16.7million deal for Sampdoria midfielder Mikkel Damsgaard, with the Bees ending their search for Christian Eriksen’s replacement.
The 22-year-old midfielder has signed a contract until 2027 and becomes the club’s sixth Danish first-team player.
Brentford were looking for a new attacking midfielder after losing Eriksen to Manchester United in the summer.
He scored twice on Denmark’s route to the Euro 2020 semi-finals, including the loss to England at Wembley – and has since been linked with a move to the Premier League.
Damsgaard eventually stayed in Serie A but only made 11 appearances last season after suffering a problem that saw him play 27 games from last October to mid-April.
Brentford head coach Thomas Frank said: “Mikkel is, in my opinion, another classic Brentford signing. He is a young player with great development potential. We know we can help Mikkel to reach its highest level, we have staff here who have experience in this field and we look forward to working with them.
“Mikkel is a player who showed his promise at FC Nordsaelland and Sampdoria as well as at the European Championships last summer when he produced a fantastic tournament for Denmark.
“He’s been unlucky with injuries over the past year, but we’ve already seen he’s an extremely skilled player, who can run the ball and move it well. He’s aware of the space around him and plays on the U-turn. He also wants to play forward and can do so passing or dribbling.”
Brentford made their initial approach for Damsgaard a week before their opener against Leicester City last Sunday, which they drew 2-2. Damsgaard caught the eye of other Premier League clubs before the accepted offer from Brentford.
Frank added: “Mikkel is capable of creating and scoring goals and he has the ability to run the ball past the players. He’s a great asset to have in the team. He will create chances for us and is fantastic to get out of tight areas with the ball, we’ll take advantage of that.
“We believe Mikkel can play as one of our ‘eights’ in a 4-3-3 system or as a ‘ten’. He can also play on the wing. We will use him the way we think to be able to get the best of his offensive abilities. Above all, he is a player who will fit into our dressing room. He is a great character, he wants to work hard, he wants to work for the team and he wants to develop.
Damsgaard will train for Brentford this week and could make his Premier League debut for the club against Manchester United on Saturday, live on sky sports starting at 17h ; kick off 5:30 p.m.
Analysis: Damsgaard move makes perfect sense for bees
Sam Blitz, Sky Sports football journalist:
If you can’t get the Sorcerer, then the Apprentice will have to.
Mikkel Damsgaard’s ties to Christian Eriksen go far beyond the midfielder replacing his Danish compatriot during last summer’s Euro 2020 campaign. The new Brentford signing even studied Eriksen’s game during his younger years as inspiration.
“I can say I’m inspired by him,” Damsgaard said of Eriksen last season. “Eriksen is one of the players I looked to emulate the most. I looked up to him a lot when I was younger and since then I’ve always played as a No.10.
“I was inspired a lot by him. I studied many details of his game and how he finds spaces. I tried to include him in my game when I was little.”
Eriksen was crucial to Brentford’s chances of survival in the Premier League last season. Brentford have won more (seven) in the 10 games they have started than in the 28 games they have not started (six). The Bees’ goal ratio doubled during that span and Ivan Toney’s chances at his disposal also increased in the same way.
Eriksen also brought a lot of joy from set pieces, creating 17 chances from dead ball scenarios last season for the Bees and Damsgaard can bring all of his compatriot’s skills with him. England fans will remember him for scoring a magnificent free-kick in the Euro 2020 semi-final at Wembley, for example.
Damsgaard’s year since last summer’s tournament hasn’t gone to plan with a mystery illness, his agent claiming it was a form of arthritis, but as Eriksen showed last season, medical history was not seen as a barrier at Brentford.
He could make his Brentford debut against Eriksen’s United this Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League, in what could be the battle for Danish creative pivots.
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