One thing I’ve enjoyed about covering Bristol City this season is the emergence of Niclas Eliasson. Just over midway through his third season in BS3, the winger has become a real fan-favourite and City’s most productive player, even though he’s not made nearly as many starts as their other key players, in Josh Brownhill and Famara Diedhou.
The former Sweden Under-21 international arrived from IFK Norrkoping in August 2017, and didn’t feature much during his first campaign. However these past two seasons he’s played a key part in the success of Lee Johnson’s side. That wonder of a left foot has had City fans amazed for a while now, but Eliasson wasn’t very useful when regrouping and trying to win back the ball. That’s hindered his chances of starting when City look for a more narrow formation, trying to grind out a result, with wingbacks, which has been utilised often over the past two campaigns.
He’s more of a one-dimensional player, but what a player he is. Eliasson is a classic touchline hogging winger, and delivers a beautiful whipped ball across goal, often connecting with Famara Diedhou’s head and ending in the back of the net. Operating on both the left and the right-hand side of midfield, he offers a wide threat for the Robins.
Footballers are often trying to develop their game, and Johnson wants Eliasson to play a whole 90 minutes, as it could offer both a developed attacking threat and help City stop leaking so many goals, their major issue this season. To help achieve this, Nico has been taking Judo lessons for a year, and it’s already beginning to pay off, well the attacking threat anyway.
This season so far Eliasson is sitting pretty, standing joint top of the Championship assist charts, alongside West Brom’s Matheus Pereira, the pair have 10 assists each. That is an impressive tally, bearing in mind it is January. However, his performances haven’t gone unnoticed, causing tonnes of Premier League interest. And with only 18 months left on his contract, if City are to keep hold of him, they might want to get the deal wrapped up quickly. This is because Burnley have been keeping tabs on him for a while now and according to reports they’re preparing to put in a £15 million bid for Niclas. This is a perfect fit for the Clarets’ as their direct style requires a player with vision and whip, like Eliasson, to feed Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood.
It seems as if City have found a diamond in the rough, the obstacle now is to keep him in BS3.