One thing we learnt during the summer transfer window is that Southampton football club know what they are doing in the transfer market. Whilst many of us, including this writer felt that a season of struggle was ahead of them, they currently sit 3rd after 22 league games. Their summer acquisitions Dusan Tadic, Fraser Forster, Graziano Pelle, Sadio Mane, Toby Alderweireld and loan man Ryan Bertrand have all been a success. Even though at times they have been a little hot and cold in performance, Ronald Koeman has shown his quality when adjusting personal and tactics to suit their form and the fixtures itself.
With the winter biting and a Champion League challenge sensationally still on, the Saints entered the market again to purchase a cover/rotation option with Eljero Elia. The 27 year old has joined on loan from Werder Bremen until the end of the season.
A player of obvious talent perhaps the number of clubs he has played since 2004 gives you an idea of the problem he has had. Spells at Den Haag, Twente, Hamburg, Juventus and Bremen have taken place and it becomes clear he has struggled to find his home. A few off the field problems have affected him, and suggest a temperament issue may exist.
During his career in 235 games he has scored 35 goals which is a decent strike rate for a winger/attacking midfield player.
The start has been very promising. A bright performance on debut at Old Trafford was followed by scoring both goals in the 2-1 away win at Newcastle. From a fantasy view he may not tempt you unless you caught him on the barn door. Now priced at 10.34m his return of 5pts and 26pts in the two games asks questions. Considering the 26 included two goals and the match winner he may not be a phantom king meaning you would be needing goal or so to warranty his fantasy selection moving forward.
During the 145 minutes played he has had the two attempts on goal, one every 72 minutes. Tadic has 38 in 1574 minutes for one every 41 minutes, while Mane 24 in 934 minutes meaning one every 39 minutes. This simplified stats suggest that on his return Mane is the pick of the trio when considering big point potential. Elila though will have a run of games to see whether he can reach or surpass Mane's standard.
Southampton now have one more option in their attacking play and along with Shane Long, completion has been added for the likes of Tadic and Mane. Elia comes into a side probably needing an injection part way into the winter program and the Dutchman will give them just that. At 27 the penny has to drop soon and under the guidance of Koemann he gets a further chance to fulfill his talent. The Saints apparently have the option to buy and one thing we do know is that players tend to play well when in the shop window.
How do you feel Elia will adapt to the Saints side? Is he to be viewed a first teamer regular or does he become squad cover on Manes return? Will he be a fantasy option for you moving forward?