Eljero Elia: 5 Facts on Southampton’s January recruit

Southampton Football Club

The one-time Holland international has arrived at Southampton from Werder Bremen on loan – here’s what you need to know.

Eljero Elia may not be a household name to many, but the pacy Dutch winger was once regarded as one of the brightest young talents in the European game and a player destined for great things.

Recruited by Southampton on loan from Werder Bremen, the casual fan may not know a whole lot about the 27-year-old but we do – here are five big facts.

Elia was once seen as the next Arjen Robben

Impressive during his younger days at FC Twente, back in 2009 Elia actually won the Dutch Player of the Year Award, which is no mean feat when you consider the list of previous winners reads like a who’s who of Holland's finest footballers.

From Marco Van Basten, to Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars, recent additions also include Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart and Arjen Robben. No pressure then…

The winger would be wise to hold his tongue

Elia has something of a nasty habit for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, as he learnt during his stay at Hamburg, when rumours first surfaced suggesting that Juventus were keen on signing him.

“I've agreed with the club [Hamburg] that we'd open talks if a big club like Arsenal or Chelsea comes knocking," he explained to the Hamburger Morgenpost.

"There's no need to talk if a club of the same level as HSV is interested. Juventus are still one of the best Italian teams around, but they're not better than Hamburg, in my opinion."

But after later slamming his German employers for failing to play in a way that suited his style, he suddenly had a change of heart about Juve…

Elia may just be Juventus’ worst-ever signing

Recruited from Hamburg for just €10 million, on the face of things Elia wouldn’t appear to be that much of a flop.

But after playing just four times and scoring once in his debut season at the club – a campaign that saw Juventus win Serie A and remain unbeaten – he was off.

And when you consider that included just one start in which he was hauled off after 45 minutes, it all starts to add up.

"I want out of here because I don’t feel like a regular," he told Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad. He was soon on his way to Werder Bremen.

Elia will be reunited with his old partner in crime

Southampton fans should brace themselves for their next encounter with Stoke, as the game will act as something of a reunion for two former Bremen bad boys in Elia and Austrian star Marko Arnautovic.

The then-Bundesliga pair made headlines back in April 2013 after both being banned by the club following separate incidents involving speeding.

With the team in the midst of a relegation battle Werder sports director Thomas Eichin made the regrettable decision.

"In the final stretch of the season we need all players to be fully focused," he said.

"We have made it clear to Marko Arnautovic and Eljero Elia that their behaviour damaged the team in this phase.

"Both will train separately until the end of the season."

This winger is a bit of a fashionista

Despite his issues on the field, Elia is something of a successful businessman off it, having launched a luxury clothing brand with some fellow pros a few years back.

BALR is co-founded by fellow Dutch stars Demy De Zeeuw and Gregory van der Wiel and is apparently popular with professional football stars across the world – Jose Fonte you have been warned!

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