It’s impossible to detach emotion from the Christian Eriksen (£2.9m) story.
The harrowing scenes of his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020 will be forever remembered by those who witnessed him collapse and undergo resuscitation on the pitch during Denmark’s group game against Finland.
In the moment, it wasn’t clear whether the 30-year-old would survive let alone recover and return to football at the highest level.
After a merciful recovery, Eriksen was released by Inter because Italian laws forbid players fitted with an implantable cardio defibrillator (ICD) from participating in professional sport.
No such rules exist in England and the talented playmaker was picked up by Brentford in January, in part because of Danish connections.
The combination of a newly-promoted club punching above their weight in the world’s most-watched league and a player whose continued existence is odds-defying makes for a script worthy of Hollywood.
Whether or not Eriksen would be able to make an instant impact in such an environment as competitive as the Premier League was another matter altogether.
The nature of elite sport cares not for sentimentality and there was a considerable possibility that Eriksen’s natural talent would be negated by fitness issues, a lack of match sharpness after an eight-month hiatus, and potential psychological blockades.
However, the reality is that he has proven to be one of most notable impactful January signings in recent memory.
The Bees had earned just one point from a possible 24 at the end of Eriksen’s debut for the club – he was introduced as a second-half substitute in the home defeat to Newcastle.
At that stage, Thomas Frank’s side looked destined to play out the remainder of the season in a desperate relegation battle but results dramatically improved from March onward, when Eriksen made his first start.
The midfielder’s quality, coupled with the return of a firing Ivan Toney (£5.1m) from injury, restored the vigour that Brentford had shown during the first third of the campaign.
Subsequent wins over Norwich, Burnley, West Ham, Watford and, most notably, Chelsea have steered the west London club towards a comfortable mid-table finish.
Plus, Eriksen has registered two assists and a goal in 488 minutes of action for a return of 25 Dream Team points – he was deservedly named Star Man at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
While it’s a relatively small sample size, the ex-Spurs man boasts an impressive average of 4.2 points-per-game – the same rate as breakout star Jarrod Bowen (£5.1m).
Eriksen is collecting his points at a faster rate than Mason Mount (£5.0m), Raheem Sterling (£4.8m), James Maddison (£4.5m), Bukayo Saka (£4.5m) and a whole host of other popular assets.
In fact, Kevin De Bruyne (£7.1m) and Riyad Mahrez (£6.8m) are the only active midfielders with a superior points-per-game average at this stage and the Man City pair are both way over twice the price of Brentford’s No21.
With only five fixtures left to fulfil in 2021/22, Dream Team gaffers may feel Eriksen’s schedule isn’t busy enough to warrant a late transfer – although he does finish with favourable match-ups against Southampton, Everton and Leeds – but the signs are there that he may be a smart option next season.
Whatever you think of his Dream Team viability, he deserves plenty of praise for his efforts in recent weeks and not just because of the unusual circumstances of his career, because he’s been genuinely influential.