In a refreshing approach for the fans, Saints have started their January transfer business early with the acquisition of Eljero Elia on loan from Werder Bremen with a view to a permanent move in the Summer.
Perhaps surprisingly Elia becomes the first Dutch signing of Ronald Koeman’s reign as Saints boss.
The winger/forward has 27 caps for Holland and was part of the 2010 World Cup final squad, but his career has perhaps stalled since then. After impressing for FC Twente (under Steve McLaren) and Hamburg in Germany he has had disappointing spells with Juventus and Werder Bremen.
Once nicknamed ‘the Dutch Balotelli’, Elia has certainly had some controversial moments off the pitch, but also has massive potential and if Ronald Koeman is the right man to tame the off field personality, personally I think this might be another cracking signing.
No one get’s handed that many Holland caps for nothing and the wrong career choices can hamper even the best of players. With Sadio Mane off to the African cup of nations soon, it was pivotal that Saints brought in some cover for the wide areas and if Elia can apply his pace and skill to the Premier League he might just be a massive hit!
Welcome to Southampton Eljero Elia!
p.s. Stay tuned for a Lowdown article with experts soon (probably after Xmas)!
In what has been a turbulent few weeks, especially since England limped out of the World Cup without so much as a fight, some incoming transfer news at St. Mary’s has been a long time coming…
…but it’s finally here and Serbian international Dušan Tadić becomes the first new face of the Ronald Koeman era.
Joining from FC Twente for a fee believed to be in the region of €13 million. Saints have seemingly shaken off competition from Everton, Sevilla and Shalke 04 to secure a player that some have labelled ‘the best in the Eredivisie.’
It’s dragged for a few days, but Dušan Tadić is now a Southampton player. Is this a good move for Saints?
WB ‘100% yes! In my opinion Tadić was the best player in the Eredivisie last year and Ronald Koeman obviously thinks the same to part with such a hefty fee.’
EdG ‘I would say it is, yes. He’s been the best player in the Eredivisie for the last two years. Tadić is a model professional, rarely missing a game and a role model for the youngsters with his positive attitude.’
Many have touted him as a potential Adam Lallana replacement. What type of player is he?
WB ‘A very handy left winger but also at home in the number 10 role. He’s intelligent, hard working, an assist machine and a goal scorer. Potential Lallana replacement? Maybe… he has all the credentials to pull it off.’
EdG ‘He’s been the creative spark for Twente in the past two seasons. Always an eye for his teammates. Gifted with the insight to play killer balls and key passes. His assist tally is impressive, but it could’ve been much, much higher. The FC Twente strikers tend to miss a lot of chances.’
What would you say are his main strengths and weaknesses?
WB ‘As I am such an admirer of Tadić, no real weaknesses spring to mind. He is a great crosser with exceptional passing. Throughout his career in the Eredivisie, his deliveries from corners and free-kicks have resulted in goals after goals. Combine this with the capability to cut inside and carve up any defence with a killer ball, provides you the main reasons for his many assists. Great movement, great speed and a great penalty taker.’
EdG ‘Main strengths: Key pass, through balls, very strong left foot. 100% conversion rate of penalties, free kicks, crosses, work rate, influence, attitude and one of his biggest strengths: Opponents can’t get him off the ball when he’s in possession.
Weaknesses: The Twente coaching staff told him he has to go for his own chance a bit more, rather than laying the ball off. Defensively he’s not very strong.’
Do you think he will be able to convert his Eredivisie form to the Premier League?
WB ‘Like I say about every player coming over here from a different league – it may take time. However, he has the speed and strength to harass any full-back so he may adapt quickly to the hustle and bustle of going to the Brittania on a rainy Monday night.’
EdG ‘He’ll be ok. As long as you keep playing your attacking football, that’s where he’s best. I’ve no doubt he will fit in. It’s a big step, but if one player can do it, it’s Tadic.’
This is hopefully the first of many players coming into Saints, perhaps mainly from Holland, how is that perceived over there?
WB ‘Unsure how it’s perceived but imagine Southampton will be a club they will follow with a Dutch legend like Ronald Koeman at the helm.’
EdG ‘Good question. I don’t think it matters too much to fans in the Netherlands. It’s our faith to lose players to the bigger leagues like the Premier League, so we’re kind of used to it. We’ll always have bright new talents in the Netherlands.’
I don’t know about you, but it sounds like we have signed a pretty exciting player to me! Thanks to Will and Erwin for their time. Make sure you checkout TotalDutchFootball.com for future features on Koeman and his targets!
I get the feeling this is the first signing of many…..
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