Former Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jamie Redknapp has been singing the praises of Southampton’s Eljero Elia in The Daily Mail.
Netherlands international Elia recently joined the Saints on loan from German club Werder Bremen for the rest of the season.
The 27-year-old has made a fantastic start to life in the Premier League and was the star of the show for Southampton against Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Saturday.
The former Juventus winger scored both the goals in the 2-1 win for Ronald Koeman’s side, while having a pass accuracy of 74%, putting in two crosses, attempting three take-ons and winning 67% of the tackles.
Redknapp was impressed with what he saw of Elia and wrote in The Daily Mail: "Watching Southampton play at Old Trafford (against Manchester United), I sat up and took notice when Eljero Elia breezed past Phil Jones.
“It looked like Ronald Koeman had brought in another good player to boost his side. Against Newcastle United, he proved it. He was quick, strong and he took his goals well, even if Newcastle could have done better defensively.”
On Southampton’s top-four chances in the Premier League this season, Redknapp remarked: “But Southampton won without Morgan Schneiderlin, Victor Wanyama, Sadio Mane and Toby Alderweireld and they still have Jay Rodriguez to come back. They are serious top-four contenders.”
While one cannot help but agree with Redknapp about Southampton being genuine top-four contenders, one need to exercise some degree of caution when labelling Elia a ‘Premier League star’.
True, the Dutchman has been impressive in the English top flight so far, but he has featured in just two games. Andrey Arshavin also looked great initially at Arsenal; whatever happened to him?
One also needs to remember that this is the same Elia who struggled at Italian champions Juventus and who is 27 years of age. Hardly someone who is new on the block.
Before going gaga over Southampton’s January signing, it would be wise to see how he does over the next few weeks.