Losing our talisman Gylfi Sigurdsson was always going to hurt, he is without doubt our best player and on sheer ability is the best Swansea City player of the Premier League era.
Unfortunately this is football, when players do well they will inevitably attract interest from better clubs and will usually move on.
It can’t be denied that the last few weeks have left a sour taste in the mouth. I have no problem with anyone wanting to better themselves or earn more money, 99% of people reading this would have the same attitude in his shoes. But there is a correct way to go about it and it was disappointing to see the Iceman refuse to go on the tour of America. It may well have been his agent who encouraged it but that’s no excuse. As a Swansea City player he had an obligation to be on that plane until a bid from another club was accepted.
From that moment on it appeared almost certain he would be departing and to say the deal has dragged would be the biggest understatement ever. He has been made unavailable for selection by the club during this time which tells me that we wanted to sell in the end. As soon as we put a price tag on his head it was obvious he was available. If we didn’t want to sell the response would have been the player isn’t for sale.
We have made an astronomical amount of money from the deal but Sigurdsson will be very difficult to replace. I saw a stat on Sky Sports News recently which showed in terms of goals and assists he has 53 over the past three seasons. That is second in the entire division for midfielders above the likes of Mesut Ozil and Cesc Fabregas with only Christian Eriksen above him. That is some statistic when you consider the Iceman has team-mates with significantly less ability than the others on that list.
The Jack Army were very excited when he returned to the club during the summer of 2014. He’d been a star for us in the second half of the 2011/12 campaign which had seen us comfortably survive in our debut season in the Premier League.
He instantly struck up a great partnership with Wilfried Bony, they’re stunning link up play for the Ivorian’s opening goal in the win over Leicester a great example of how well they gelled together.
Bony was to leave for Man City midway through that season and after that Sigurdsson went through a spell where he wasn’t as influential. He only scored six league goals in the calender year of 2015 and was even dropped in October of the 2015/16 season as the struggled for form.
It appeared to be difficult to fit Gylfi and Jonjo Shelvey into the same team without hampering one or the others influence. Once Shelvey departed for Newcastle Sigurdsson hit top form again. He was our best player during the second half of that season, scoring nine times to help us secure survival fairly comfortably.
Last season he stepped it up again, despite being shunted to the unfamiliar positions of a false nine and the left wing for parts of the campaign, he still chipped in with ten goals and ten assists in what was by and large a very average team.
Many players downed tools at various times during 2016/17 but one he was one man you could never accuse of doing so. As revealed in an excellent piece in the Guardian by Stuart James – Sigurdsson actually covered more ground than any other player in the top flight last term which is quite a statistic. Without his influence there can be no doubt we would have been in the same position as Sunderland at the season’s conclusion.
Speculation was rife as it had been 12 months earlier that he would be moving on this summer and this time it came true with Everton finally handing over £45 million for his services.
We’ve learnt to live with losing our best players over the last few seasons and we must all remember that no one is bigger than the club, although I suspect that Sigurdsson will prove to be harder to replace than anyone who has moved on previously.
Things still feel raw now but I’m sure once the dust settles we will be grateful for his contribution over the last few years and remember him as one of the best players to wear the famous white shirt.