It’s all change at Goodison Park this summer as Everton continue bringing in and shipping out players, and one of the sagas of the summer looks set to finally reach its conclusion.
It was announced yesterday that Everton had, after weeks of speculation and talks, agreed a fee for Icelandic international and Swansea City playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson. Sigurdsson is a player highly rated by his peers and fans alike and his price tag, believed to be in the region of £45 million, is a testament to that.
Before we discuss the Sigurdsson deal I would firstly like to say a big thank you and a big sorry to Gareth Barry. Gareth Barry for me is one of the most underrated British footballers of modern times. I, like many other fans who had never had the privilege of seeing him play week in week out, was often very critical of the praise he got and saw him as nothing more than a boring and overrated player.
That was until he signed for Everton in 2013. He immediately endeared himself to the Goodison faithful as he showcased his high quality passing, his magnificent leadership and his tenacious tackling. He was a true leader and the man behind the scenes pulling the strings and keeping the Everton machine running. After watching Gareth Barry make 131 appearances for Everton over the last 4 years I feel silly now for the unfounded and uneducated views I once held for him.
It is easy now for me to see why he was Aston Villa’s talisman for so many years and also why he was so highly regarded at Manchester City as he helped them to Premier League and FA Cup glory. So a big thank you to you Mr Barry, it has been a pleasure to watch you over these 4 years and my only regret is we didn’t see you in the Royal Blue for longer; good luck at West Brom.
As for Everton’s newest central midfielder, Gylfi Sigurdsson is expected to complete a medical at Finch Farm later this afternoon (Wednesday 16th August) and the deal will likely be announced later this evening or tomorrow. The price tag is set to be a record for Everton and it will be the second time this summer Everton have broken it with Jordan Pickford’s £30M fee setting the last record.
Of course the price tag will be scrutinised, criticised, and questioned but the stats over the last three seasons speak volumes. Sigurdsson has scored 27 goals and been involved in 53 goals in the last 3 Premier League campaigns second only to Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen respectively. He comes 5th in the assists charts on 26, ahead of David Silva. Finally he tops the table for free kicks scored in the last 3 years, with 6 to his name. What makes these stats all the more impressive is the fact he was playing for Swansea, a team battling at the bottom end of the league with much less quality players for Sigurdsson to combine with.
With 9 goals and 13 assists last season the Icelandic star is in the prime of his career. Ronald Koeman has hinted he wants to bring another forward in to complement Sandro Ramirez so if Everton are prepared to spend big and with Sigurdsson and Rooney to provide the ammunition, they could have the firepower to make a real impact in the Premier League and Europa League this season.
Written by Callum Dumbell follow him on twitter @CalDumbell
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