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Eljero Elia's arrival in Turin the finishing piece to Antonio Conte's vision

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By Andrew Harding

Tuesday 06 September 2011

It was a move that had been a long time coming and where at times England appeared to be a more likely destination for Eljero Elia, but, in the end the Dutch winger finally joined Juventus. It is a strange signing in that midway through August, Elia was reported as saying a move to Juventus would not happen as he wanted to move to a bigger club than where he was playing thereby implying that there was little difference between playing for Hamburg SV and Juventus. Elia has since denied making such comments but it will nonetheless linger in the minds of Juve tifosi. A good start to his Juve career for the Dutchman would go a long way to banishing such thoughts.

Elia’s arrival is interesting as he does possess sufficient quality to be an important player for I Bianconeri as well as there being potential for growth in his game. Elia is typically used as a left-sided winger who has the ability to run the line and cut inside with pace at will. His progression in his development appears to have been stunted as evident last season at Hamburg and so a move was always likely this summer. Italian football will certainly provide the Dutchman with a different challenge and it is hoped that the game on the peninsula will help improve him, especially in regards to his mentality. His pace and technique on the ball should make for interesting viewing in his upcoming battles against right-backs throughout the peninsula. If he can become stronger mentally and if he can reflect this in his game, along with some improvement with his finishing then he could just become one of the gems of the Serie A, a true star.

With him and Milos Krasic in the starting line-up, it would appear there is a balance in purpose and style of wingers in the midfield meaning that Juventus will be able to stretch the opposition’s defence much more than last season. Often last season, La Vecchia Signora’s left-side would go missing in a game and this one-dimensional style helped opposition teams contain Juventus more than usual. Combined with Krasic’s poor second half of the campaign and it was an obvious issue for Beppe Marotta to address. Elia is naturally right-footed and so will cut inside a lot but his technique on his left-foot has improved and it’ll be interesting to see just how Coach Antonio Conte will deploy the Dutchman. Elia could possibly play a more central role if need be and his versatility will certainly be of benefit to any tactical changes Conte may wish to make.

Elia is now 24 years old and should be approaching the prime years of his career. Juventus have a squad capable of challenging for a UEFA Champions League qualifying place and with the addition of Elia, it would appear they possess enough creativity to be a real threat going forwards. It all points to this season being vital in La Vecchia Signora’s hope to return to the top of the pile in the peninsula.

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