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|SoccerAnchor Profiles: Gylfi Sigurdsson's move from 1899 Hoffenheim to Tottenham Hotspur|
SoccerAnchor’s Paul Bastin takes a look at Gylfi Sigurdsson’s permanent switch from the Bundesliga to the Premier League...
FROM: 1899 Hoffenheim (Swansea City loan)
TO: Tottenham Hotspur
In his first swoop as the new Tottenham manager, Andre Villas-Boas will be very pleased to have won the hotly contested pursuit for Gylfi Sigurdsson’s signature.
The 22-year-old midfielder has performed with maturity beyond his years and has already made a significant impact in English football. His most recent loan spell with Swansea City in the Premier League certainly alerted the bigger clubs of his talent, but keen followers of the English Championship would have been well aware of Gylfi’s ability prior to his top flight arrival.
Sigurdsson’s reliability in the front third offers Tottenham a quality option in the advanced midfield role. The key question is, can the former Hoffenheim man reach the level required to hold down a starting position at a club with genuine Champions League and title hopes?
Having spent three years in the youth and reserve systems at Reading, Sigurdsson earned his stripes and duly received a professional contract at the Royals for 2007/2008. He was loaned out to Shrewsbury Town in League Two and Crewe Alexandra in League One for the majority of the season, continuing to develop and learn his craft.
Returning to his parent club Reading for 2009/2010, the Iceland international exploded into prominence, clearly benefitting from regular minutes in the lower divisions. Netting 21 goals and providing nine assists in 44 matches across all competitions, Sigurdsson’s strength from the dead ball and long range shooting became trademarks. He was an important factor in Reading’s push for the playoffs and their incredible run through to the sixth round of the FA Cup, featuring victories over Premier League sides Liverpool, West Bromwich Albion and Burnley.
Given his scintillating form, Sigurdsson justifiably received interest from several suitors. After beginning the 2010/2011 season with Reading, 1899 Hoffenheim poached Sigurdsson on deadline day. He quickly adjusted to life in the Bundesliga and was a positive influence whenever an opportunity presented itself. However, opportunities were fleeting, with a regular starting XI spot eluding Sigurdsson. 32 appearances (13 starts) yielded 10 goals and three assists, a strong record that warranted more game time.
Falling even further out of favour at the start of 2011/2012, Sigurdsson searched for a fresh environment and found it through a season long loan spell at the promoted Swansea City.
He flourished with the added responsibility and attractive passing style at the Swans, playing 19 matches for a haul of seven goals. An outstanding March culminated in Sigurdsson winning the Premier League Player of the Month award, worthwhile recognition of his consistency.
Former Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers was keen to ink a permanent deal for the emerging star, and an agreement was seemingly inevitable before Rodgers accepted the vacant manager position at Liverpool.
The change was a huge spanner in the works for all parties, with the general consensus being that Sigurdsson would now follow Rodgers to Anfield. In more ways than one, it seemed like fate.
At the time of Rodger’s departure from the Welsh side, he agreed to not sign any Swansea players for 12 months. But due to Sigurdsson being a loan player, Rodgers was free to try and lure his man to the Reds. If that wasn’t enough incentive, Sigurdsson’s goal scoring prowess from midfield was and remains exactly what Liverpool desires.
It looked a perfect fit, but by Sigurdsson’s own admission, Tottenham’s recent league finishes played a determining role in his decision to sign for the Spurs.
With the likes of Rafael Van der Vaart and Luka Modric to contend with for a position in the attacking midfield role, it is likely that Gylfi Sigurdsson will have to settle for a place on the bench to begin his time at White Hart Lane. But with mounting speculation surrounding Modric’s future, Sigurdsson may be quickly thrust into the spotlight. He has met every challenge to date and if the pattern continues, you can expect more special moments from the young gun.