Eljero Elia set for Southampton debut against Manchester United

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Eljero Elia is poised to make his Southampton debut against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, the first game that the Dutch winger is eligible for since completing a surprise loan move from Werder Bremen.

According to the Daily Echo, the 2010 World Cup finalist could be thrown straight in to Ronald Koeman's starting line-up after proving his fitness during the past couple of weeks training on the south coast.

Elia joins Saints initially until the end of the season, but that is with a view to completing a permanent transfer to St Mary's after struggling to settle in Germany with the Bundesliga outfit.

The former Holland international scored just four goals in 66 league appearances for Bremen - the last of which came in November 2013 - and he'll be hoping that the Premier League switch provides an opportunity to rediscover his best form.

Koeman knows Elia well from his time playing in the Netherlands, and he's sure that the 27-year-old has all the necessary attributes to be a big success in England's top-flight, starting with this weekend's high-profile encounter at the Theatre of Dreams.

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The Red Devils go into the game off the back of an 11 game unbeaten run in all competitions and Louis van Gaal will be looking to extend his side's one-point advantage over fourth-placed Southampton with another victory on Sunday.

However, defeat will see Saints leapfrog Manchester United and move into third place in the table, and Koeman will be hoping that Elia can help inspire the visitors towards securing all three points.

An injury blow to in-form Senegalese star Sadio Mane - who was ruled out for four to six weeks with a calf problem suffered against Arsenal on New Year's Day - will be softened briefly by Elia's availability, though he'll also face competition from Shane Long for a starting spot in the first XI.

Manchester United have not lost at home since the shock opening day defeat against Swansea City, but Southampton will go into the game high on confidence after a positive run of Premier League results against Everton, Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Arsenal in what has been a promising festive period.

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