Antonio Conte could make a move for Christian Eriksen in the summer after admitting he was surprised to see the Denmark midfielder back in the Premier League with Brentford.
The Tottenham manager, who worked with Eriksen at Internazionale – they won the Serie A title together last season – thought the player might need more time to recover from the cardiac arrest he suffered last June. Eriksen collapsed in Denmark's opening Euro 2020 finals game against Finland and needed life-saving treatment on the pitch.
Conte, who is living in a London hotel – his wife and daughter have remained in Italy – enjoyed a chance encounter with Eriksen on Sunday. Eriksen is staying at the same hotel after agreeing a deal with Brentford until the end of the season.
Conte said he had not discussed signing Eriksen as a free agent in January with the Spurs board, mainly because he did not imagine the former club favourite would be ready to play again in England. He will monitor his progress closely over the final months of the season.
Eriksen has been fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, which meant that Inter had to release him because the rules in Italy do not allow players with such a device to compete. He has not played since the trauma of the Finland game and is working on his fitness for what will be an emotional return with Brentford.
“Honestly, no,” Conte said, when asked whether there had been a discussion about bringing Eriksen back to Spurs. “Honestly, I was surprised about the situation because in my mind, honestly, I thought Christian needed more time before coming back to play in England.
“For sure, Eriksen is part of Tottenham’s story. To come back here would be a good opportunity for him, for me, for the club. Now he’s signed for Brentford . . . only six months, and we’ll see what happens.
“I was lucky because I met him on Sunday and it was good to speak with him. I saw him with his family and it was good. I met him in the same hotel that we were both staying in. We didn’t prepare the meeting. It was only a coincidence to see him and his family.
“I’m the first person to be happy to see him again on the pitch because we spent a really good time at Inter Milan together. We won the league, we spent two important seasons together. I wish him all the best for the future. And you don’t know what will happen. It would be good for me to have him again, to work together.” - Guardian