Belfast Telegraph

Saints seal deal for Elia

Southampton have reached a deal to sign Holland winger Eljero Elia from Werder Bremen, the Barclays Premier League club have announced.

The 27-year-old will initially join Saints on loan next month in a deal until the end of the season, with the option of then making the switch from the Bundesliga outfit permanent.

A statement on www.saintsfc.co.uk read: "Southampton Football Club is delighted to announce that it has reached an agreement over the signing of Eljero Elia.

"The winger will officially join Saints on Saturday 3rd January, initially on loan until the end of the season with a view to a permanent transfer next summer."

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman confirmed earlier on Tuesday that they were closing in on Elia, who has won 27 caps for Holland.

The Saints have been left short of attacking options with Jay Rodriguez's recovery from a cruciate ligament injury taking longer than expected and Sadio Mane due to leave for the African Nations Cup next month.

And Elia is seen as the perfect man to bolster Koeman's front three as the club look to maintain their excellent start to the Premier League season, with the south-coast club currently fifth in the standings.

Known for his blistering pace and direct forward runs, Elia established himself as one of the brightest young talents in Europe at FC Twente and was named Dutch Football Talent of the Year in 2009.

He struggled to fulfil his early promise during subsequent moves to Hamburg and Juventus but has enjoyed more stability at Bremen, where he made 33 league appearances last season.

Koeman said: "He was a Dutch international, he had not such a good period in Germany but I believe in the qualities of the player.

"He is a wing player and we normally play with both a right winger and a left winger.

"We also like in our style of playing fast people who can play one against one with quality."

Southampton may again have to fend off interest in midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin in January.

Tottenham and Arsenal both pursued the Frenchman in the summer but the club stood firm and Koeman insists even a large bid will not prise the 25-year-old away in the transfer window.

He said: "Will we sell Schneiderlin if we receive a very big bid? No, we do not sell Schneiderlin in January."

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