A new month is headlined by an old saga, but the dawn of August appears to have given Gylfi Sigurdsson’s potential move from Swansea to Everton a new lease of life.
With reports of an improved bid from Everton, to £50 million for the Icelandic star’s signature, debate is now rife amongst the Goodison Park faithful. In paying £50 million for Sigurdsson, Everton will have smashed the existing record fee set by the club only weeks ago. While the £30 million acquisition of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from Sunderland is seen as a long-term investment, Evertonians would expect an immediate impact from Sigurdsson.
Paying such an amount would almost certainly represent the end of any further meaningful spending by Everton in this window, with only much cheaper players then being a realistic option. Yet, the Everton faithful are in dire need of a new hero to replace Romelu Lukaku, and in some respects, Sigurdsson fits the bill extremely well.
The case for
As the situation stands, support through the centre of the park will be largely provided by former Ajax captain and Europa League finalist Davy Klaassen in 2017/18. He too has shown the ability to battle and drive forward, but given the physical disparity between the Dutch Eredivisie and the English Premier League, few expect the Dutchman to reach full potency until the New Year. Ever the honest man, manager Ronald Koeman has also stated, in no uncertain terms, that Ross Barkley will imminently follow Romelu Lukaku through the proverbial exit door. According to the Liverpool Echo, Stamford Bridge is rumoured to be his next destination, and this fact, along with the news that Sigurdsson is again “ready to talk” to Everton, should be the cue for Koeman to pay the money demanded. In doing so, a man with less of an eye for teammates, but a far greater eye for goal would be replacing Barkley: There are more, perhaps equally vital, statistics (from a previous article) – but regardless of Evertonian priorities, they all paint a clear picture.
While Ross Barkley was the better team player at Everton in 2016/17, Sigurdsson showed far better capability of getting the job done with 59% of his shots landing on target and a significantly superior rate of goals per game. It is without question that his divine interventions enabled Swansea to survive when all appeared lost, and his experience of being a near-weekly saviour could prove
vital in the event of his Merseyside move – especially if Everton are losing with minutes to spare. In any case, he may yet become more of a “team player”; in time. With
Koeman also “confident” of acquiring more firepower, the weekly demand typically placed upon Sigurdsson would be significantly lessened, allowing the man from Reykjavik to adopt a deeper role if required.
The case against
With a new stadium also on the way, the Everton faithful are enjoying what could go down in history as a watershed transfer window. However, regardless of newfound stature, £50 million is still a staggering investment by any English club’s standards. The optimism surrounding Everton is also reflected by the club’s odds of a top-four finish, in what is set to be an extremely competitive top half. As of 2 August 2017, Everton are priced at 8/1 on online betting site Betway to finish in the top four of the Premier League, but Koeman must add more than just Sigurdsson to the squad before the end of the transfer window.
The price will appear too optimistic should he fail to do so, but a rumoured move for Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud also appears to have a new lease of life. As a seasoned Premier League player with the ability to consistently hit double figures every season, Giroud would prove an apt and logical replacement for Lukaku.
Everton F.C. is also in dire need of reinforcements at the back, with Phil Jagielka now noticeably aged and Ramiro Funes Mori a long-term casualty. However, in the ruthless scene that is the Premier League, the end always justifies the means. For Everton, only the best is good enough, and with the club approaching a twenty-third year without silverware, the fans have every right to demand an enterprising brand of football.
According to Everton fan site SBNATION with the industrious central midfield trio of Idrissa Gueye, Morgan Schneiderlin and Tom Davies often providing a good balance of defensive and offensive coverage last term, Koeman should have good grounds (assuming no injuries) to go for the jugular and sign Sigurdsson at the price demanded – even if that means missing out on a back-up centre-back. With Everton playing four of the first five upcoming EPL games against Champions League teams, a fearless influence in the centre of the park will be desperately needed. Sigurdsson, in that respect, fits the bill perfectly.
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