OPINION: Niclas Eliasson – the risk that paid off.

Niclas Eliasson has gradually become a fan favourite over the years, hitting the heights during 2019/20. 

The winger has been bombarded with interest from the Premier League and abroad over the last two seasons, and has only one year left on his deal, so it always seemed likely that he would be departing from Ashton Gate this summer. 

With the 24-year-old reportedly in France this morning to complete a medical ahead of a proposed move to Ligue 1 side Nimes Olympique, here’s the tale of the maestro’s stay in the West Country.

The Swedish star joined the Robins in the summer of 2017, aged just 21. It was an undisclosed fee, rumoured to be around £1.8m. With the player coming from Sweden (IFK Norrköping), it was a risk to bring him to England, despite his 10 assists in 16/17. However, looking back on it, it was definitely a risk that paid off nicely.

It was clear that City wanted to develop the youngster; City do have a reputation for that, just look at Josh Brownhill. As part of his development, it was revealed he was taking part in karate lessons to improve his aggression and strength on the football pitch. 

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Nic could be off soon, but he’s provided plenty of entertainment for City fans.

Eliasson was never a consistent starter under Lee Johnson, and even three years on since he signed on the dotted line, he was still sitting on the bench most games. This could’ve only frustrated the player as he, as well as the majority of the City fans, know how effective he can be. Even though he had his best season of his career, the Swede only started 18 matches; it was clear that Johnson preferred him as an impact sub in games City found themselves trailing.

The 2019/2020 was his best season of his career bagging 12 assists, which was the second highest number of assists in the Championship, behind Matheus Pereira on 16.  If City were more clinical he could’ve beaten Matheus Pereira easily, although he did go on to win the Community Trust Young Player Of The Season. 

A lot of opposition managers would get their players to ‘double up’ on the 24 year old because of his talent and effectiveness on the ball. He is known for his exquisite crosses and lightning quick feet that so often cause huge troubles for opposition full backs.

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See ya.

So what happens next for the Swede? Earlier this year, the Robins activated a clause in his contract which gives him another year playing for City, though with Eliasson seemingly not fitting in Dean Holden’s preferred 3-5-2 formation, minutes would likely be limited for a player in with a shot of making his country’s Euro 21 squad next summer.

With prospective buyers Nimes largely opting for a traditional 4-3-3- formation, expect Nic to thrive in France.

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