Finally, it seems the transfer of Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea to Everton is about to be completed, with the final price set to be £45 million. While this is £5 million lower than what Everton were expected to spend, there is no denying that it is a huge fee for the Icelandic international.
However, this was unavoidable. Clubs this season know that under new ownership Everton have money to spend. So of course, Swansea upped the price when they heard Everton had come calling, any club would do the same. To add to this, with the ridiculous fees already paid for other players this summer both in the Premier League and abroad, this deal doesn’t look so bad.
So why did Everton make Sigurdsson their number one priority this summer, and what exactly will he offer to a team looking to break into the top six?
When you think of Gylfi Sigurdsson, you think of a set-piece specialist. By far his strongest trait, his free-kick last season at Old Trafford springs to mind, where he expertly curled the ball into the corner giving Swansea a point to take away from a difficult fixture.
He has done this many times throughout his career and makes the opposition fearful of giving away free-kicks in dangerous positions. Considering that the departed Romelu Lukaku and the departing Ross Barkley were often on free-kicks, expect Sigurdsson to become the main man on set-pieces.
If Koeman signs a target man this summer, as he clearly wishes to, Sigurdsson will become an even more important player. Of his thirteen assists last season, eight came from set-pieces, be that free-kicks or corners. Expect Sigurdsson to become the main supply line for whichever striker Koeman does bring in.
Add him to a team already full of skilled crossers, such as Baines and Rooney, and it could turn Everton into a very potent attacking force. It would be no surprise if this season the Toffees became one of the best sides from dead-ball situations.
Much has been made of Lukaku’s departure from the Merseyside club, and rightly so, with Everton having been reliant on his goals for a number of seasons. Last season, the second-highest scorer in the side was Barkley with five goals, a whole twenty behind the Belgian striker.
Koeman has gone about replacing Lukaku the right way. There are very few strikers in world football as good as him, and none that Everton could attract to the club. Koeman has decided to spread the goals amongst the team, rather than relying on just one player. This is backed up by his signings this summer.
Wayne Rooney and Sandro Ramirez may not be capable of putting up the same numbers as Lukaku, but they may very well hit double figures for goals. Davy Klaassen scored twenty in all competitions for Ajax last season, and if he even gets half of that Lukaku’s absence will be felt less strongly.
So how does Sigurdsson factor into all of this? Well, last season he scored nine goals for Swansea, the season before, eleven. Not all have come from set-pieces too, as he usually scores about half from open play. With his distribution and finishing being at a high level, it would be no surprise to see him become a key provider and goal-scorer this season.
Set-pieces and goal-scoring are obvious strengths of Sigurdsson’s, but what about his work-rate? As it turns out, the attacking midfielder ran the most miles of any player in the Premier League last season, an incredible achievement considering the likes of N’Golo Kante finished below him.
This puts him in good stead with the Everton manager, who values hard work above all else. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has often been included in the team, sometimes out of position, because the manager knows he can rely on the player to put a shift in.
At the beginning of last season, the Dutch manager lamented that the Everton side he inherited from Martinez were far less fitter than his Southampton team. All of this makes it easy to see why Sigurdsson is such a good fit for a Koeman side, and why Everton have been desperate to sign him.
Don’t be too quick to judge this transfer. Yes, it is an awful lot of money, and yes Everton have plenty of technically-gifted attacking midfielders. But this is the kind of player that Everton need. His goal-scoring, his ability on dead-ball situations and his desire to graft for the team makes him a very valuable player. Expect the Toffees’ new record signing to succeed.
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?