What Does Gylfi Sigurdsson Bring to Everton?
After telling Swansea City he was ready for a change of scenery at the end of last season, Gylfi Sigurdsson finally made his move to Everton on Wednesday.
The transfer may be the least surprising of the summer, as speculation has mounted over much of the transfer window that the Icelandic midfielder could be headed to Goodison Park. Now that it is official, what can be expected from Sigurdsson?
Sigurdsson moved for nearly $58 million and will eventually be placed in a playmaker role in the midfield. He did not tour the States with Swansea, but has been training alongside the team in recent weeks, meaning his debut for the Toffees should not be far off. When he does assume his role on the field, Everton will hope that he can continue to produce impressive numbers, including the 22 goals Sigurdsson directly contributed to last season.
ðŸ™ŒðŸ¼ | Here's the moment Gylfi Sigurdsson met the Everton faithful ahead of kick-off at Goodison. #WelcomeGylfi pic.twitter.com/Hry48cUQpx
â€” Everton (@Everton) August 17, 2017
That equates to 50% of Swansea's goals from last season. Everton are a better squad and should not need that type of production from Sigurdsson to remain in the top half of the Premier League. However, he will likely take over many of the dead ball responsibilities from Kevin Mirallas and Leighton Baines. Sigurdsson's impeccable delivery on free kicks ups the fantasy value of Michael Keane, who scored a goal from a scramble off a corner in Thursday's Europa League playoff.
It is unclear exactly where Sigurdsson will ply his trade on the pitch, as two other summer signings are also known as central midfielders. Wayne Rooney and Davy Klaasen have already had an impact for Everton in just two matches, so manager Ronald Koeman will have plenty of options. Koeman appeared to make two formation changes in the Premier League opener and made more mid-game changes on Thursday against Hajduk Split.
Gylfi Sigurdsson's stats in comparison with other players in the Premier League last season. #EFC pic.twitter.com/2KCBdTvWlh
â€” EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) August 6, 2017
What is clear is that Sigurdsson's arrival matches Everton's transfer philosophy this summer, as another productive player was brought in to fill the vacancy left by Romelu Lukaku. Sigurdsson is also an upgrade from the soon-to-be departed Ross Barkley. The grouping of Sigurdsson, Rooney, Klaasen, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Sandro Ramirez will all be expected to contribute goals and assists.
Clearly, Sigurdsson is not the main man like he was at Swansea. For that matter, he would benefit from Everton securing the services of a true, tall striker, which they are still pursuing. However, he is surrounded by a better squad, and has been one of the most consistent midfielders in the Premier League over the last three seasons. He also covered more ground than any other player last season, so Sigurdsson is going to make an impact at Goodison Park simply from his work ethic.
Once Sigurdsson gets time on the field, he should quickly become a fan favorite. Still, it would be good to be patient with Sigurdsson, as Everton try to make one last move in the transfer window and find which players fit any multitude of formations.