Brentford have completed a £16.7m 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 out on Eriksen to Manchester United this summer.
He scored twice during Denmark’s journey to the Euro 2020 semi-finals, including the defeat to England at Wembley – and has been linked with a move to the Premier League ever since.
Damsgaard ultimately stayed in Serie A but only made 11 appearances last season after suffering a problem that kept him out of 27 games, from last October until mid-April.
The west Londoners made their initial approach for Damsgaard a week ahead of their season opener against Leicester City last Sunday, which they drew 2-2. Damsgaard caught the attention of other Premier League clubs ahead of Brentford’s accepted bid.
Analysis: Damsgaard move makes perfect sense for Bees
Sky Sports football journalist Sam Blitz:
If you can’t get the sorcerer, then the apprentice will have to do.
Mikkel Damsgaard’s links to Christian Eriksen go way beyond the midfielder filling in for his fellow Dane at last summer’s Euro 2020 campaign. Brentford’s newest recruit even studied Eriksen’s game during his younger years as inspiration.
“I can say that I’m inspired by him,” Damsgaard said about Eriksen last season. “Eriksen is one of the players I have looked to emulate the most. I admired him a lot when I was younger and since then, I’ve always played as a No 10.
“I took a lot of inspiration from him. I studied many details of his game and how he finds spaces. I’ve tried to include him in my game when I was little.”
Eriksen was crucial to Brentford’s Premier League survival chances last season. Brentford picked up more wins (seven) in the 10 games he started than in the 28 games he did not start (six). The Bees’ goal ratio doubled in that time and Ivan Toney’s chances available to him increased in the same way too.
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 scoring a wonderful free-kick in the Euro 2020 semi-finals at Wembley, for example.
Damsgaard’s year since last summer’s tournament has not gone to plan with a mysterious illness, with his agent claiming it was some form of arthritis, but as Eriksen showed last season, previous medical history is not considered a hindrance 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 of the Danish creative fulcrums.
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