A comprehensive victory over Everton saw Southampton resurrect their dwindling fortunes and now, as they hope to revitalise their quest to land European football this season, Ronald Koeman is set to bolster his attack in January.
Dutch winger Eljero Elia is believed to the Saints’ top winter target, with the Werder Bremen flyer set to cost a bargain £4m.
The Netherlands international, who is Arjen Robben’s understudy for De Oranje, has shone in the Bundesliga and the Mirror report that the deal is as good as done.
With Senegalese wide man Sadio Mane preoccupied with the African Cup of Nations throughout January and a wedge of February, the St Mary’s side – 23/20 to make it two wins at of two at Crystal Palace on Boxing Day – will need reinforcements in the final third and regard Elia is a solution to their quandary.
But what will he bring to the Southampton side?
The former FC Twente, Hamburg and Juventus man has express pace and, while he hasn’t been able to replicate his best form with his side languishing in 16th in the Bundesliga, last term saw him exemplify his finest assets.
In 23 2013/14 starts the 27-year-old bagged four goals and assisted a further three.
Utilised more for his dribbling and direct running ability, Elia averaged just 17.8 passes per match last term, yet despite this low mean, 0.6 of these were considered ‘key’ by the stats boffins at whoscored.com.
His averages this season are similar, with 0.7 would-be assists made from 17.3 passes made per match.
While these passing figures are respectable, running with the ball is the biggest strength in his armoury.
Last term he made 2.2 successful dribbles per match, this term it’s down to 1.6, but his shots per game average remains similar at 1.2, a slight improvement on the one it was last term.
Ensuring these digits don’t dip is especially important with it being another of his deadliest attributes; when he was at Hamburg he set a German top-tier record for the most powerful goal scored, clocking an 83mph strike.