Why Bristol City should trigger contract extension for Niclas Eliasson
The 23-year-old’s current contract at Ashton Gate expires next summer but Robins CEO Mark Ashton has revealed that Bristol City are looking forward to extending his stay by at least another full campaign, following his rich vein of form in the Championship. (h/t Bristol Post)
The former Swedish U21 international is yet to score for the Robins in the Championship this term but he has already contributed with as many as six assists.
Born in Varberg, Sweden, Eliasson initially shot to prominence with Falkenbergs FF in the second-tier in his homeland before earning a move to giants AIK in 2014.
However, after finding his opportunities limited at AIK, the winger eventually went on to join fellow Swedish Allsvenskan side IFK Norrkoping on a permanent deal in 2017 on the back of a successful loan stint.
An impressive tally of 3 goals and 10 assists in 17 appearances for Norrkoping during the 2017 season paved the way for a move to the English second-tier with Bristol City in the summer of 2017 and Eliasson hasn’t looked back since then.
The 23-year-old has gone on to establish himself as one of the most potent and exciting wingers in the EFL Championship over the past couple of seasons, albeit struggling to nail down a regular starting role under manager Lee Johnson.
Having accumulated 2 goals and 6 assists across 21 starts and 12 substitute appearances for the Robins in the Championship the last term, Eliasson has already equalled his assist tally from the previous campaign so far this season.
Despite delivering some top-drawer performances from the bench, Eliasson has found his involvement restricted to only 3 starts in the Championship so far, with Johnson often turning to his other options to fill the wide slots in his preferred back-three system.
Realistically, Eliasson’s constant snub from the playing XI comes down to tactical reasons. The likes of Callum O’Dowda and Tommy Rowe have been rotated to fill in as wing-backs on the left-hand side of the pitch while Jack Hunt and Pedro Pereira have been given the nod – more often than not – on the right ahead of a specialist winger like Eliasson.
The stats though, speak well in favour of Niclas Eliasson, who has averaged a staggering 3.5 key passes per 90 minutes so far this season, as per whoscored.
The left-footed ace has illustrated his proficiency in setting up goals ever since his move to Ashton Gate, as evident from his tally of 13 assists in 67 appearances for the Robins.
The Swedish star has left something to desire with his finishing but at 23, he still has plenty of time to work on the flaws in his game and evolve into a prolific player for the Robins in the years to come.
Despite being limited to a bit-part role, Eliasson has already made heads turn with his creativity in the final third.
The Robins have already offered new deals to the likes of O’Dowda, Taylor Moore and Joe Morrell this season.
Niclas Eliasson might not be one of the first names on Johnson’s team sheet but his contribution to the club’s fine start to the campaign can’t really be ignored.
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All in all, Bristol City extending the stay of Niclas Eliasson should be an absolute no-brainer.