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Matthew Coccoluto On February - 18 - 2012

The Curious Case of Eljero Elia

During deadline day of the 2011 transfer window, Juventus went out and purchased Eljero Elia, a talented 24-year-old Dutch winger. Somewhat a controversial transfer, the Torino based club bought the player for 9 million Euros making him one of the more expensive signings of the summer and only 1 million less than the price paid for Stephen Lichtsteiner. However the Dutch youngster has had very little opportunity to step on the field, leaving many to wonder, where is Eljero Elia?

Jumping back to the beginning of the summer, Elia was one of the first names linked with the new Juve. However, when asked about Juve, Elia responded by saying he would not leave his club (Hamburg SV) for a club that is of the same quality, adding that he did not believe a move to Juventus would be an improvement to his current club. At the end of the summer, after three weeks of Bundesliga action, Hamburg sits in the relegation zone and Elia moves to Torino.

Since his move it hasn’t been easy for Elia to find his role on the new Juventus. It was first said that the language barrier was the issue, however after months went by and Elia only stepped on the field once, it became evident that language wasn’t the issue. In January when Elia was left out of the 21 man roster for a game due to injury, he claimed, via twitter, that he was in fact not injured but healthy, creating a stir of controversy. His twitter comments stirred some controversy and his playing time still did not increase. This season, in all competitions, Elia has started one and appeared in two others. This has left two big questions for Juve fans, why buy him in the first place, and will he ever actually play?

Although uncertain, it looks as if Elia will be included in the upcoming games. His attitude, via twitter, has changed and he now tweets more about Juventus and his hard work than he ever did prior to two weeks ago. He has also been included on the bench the last few games as well as seen warming up. Even though he hasn’t touched the field it looks as if Conte will use the player soon.

This can only be a good thing for Juventus fans. Goal scoring up front has seemed to stall and Matri can’t do it all. There is also a shortness of creativity coming from the midfield. Elia may not be a great goal scorer but his speed and potential creativity could open up the possibilities for others, maybe Mirko Vucinic.

From the few moments that Elia has stepped on the pitch it is evident that he has incredible speed and is capable of taking on any defender. This could be a tremendous weapon for Juventus. There has been no argument about the impact Stephan Lichtsteiner has had on the offense by running up the flanks. If Elia can be properly introduced on the wing than he will add another possibility for creating goal-scoring opportunities.

There seems to be a feeling amongst Juve fans that everyone wants him to play. Maybe because they want another option on the wing and think he can play, it is also possible that some see him as a potential star that could really carry Juve beyond this season into the next. He is one of the more talented players on the roster and although he has had an up and down career, there is still a chance he finds his rhythm with Juve and goes onto be a big part of this team.

The window of opportunity is closing for Elia. If he doesn’t start getting playing time soon, then he may never find the confidence to play to his potential. The summer transfer window will be an important time for Juve to strengthen its squad ahead of next year’s Champions League and Elia’s performance could determine whether or not Juventus will have one more piece to fill in. Hopefully the Dutch winger gets a chance to shine soon, it would be a shame for talent like his to be overlooked.

Matthew Coccoluto

Originally from Boston now in LA. I work in production but football is my passion. I bleed black and white. Proud member of the Juventus Fan Club of Southern California. Forza Juve, Sempre Sara.

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