In Gylfi Sigurdsson Transfer Saga, Swansea City Stands to Benefit
One of the biggest stories of this summer's transfer window comes in the form of Everton's interest in Swansea playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelandic midfielder almost single-handedly pulled the South Wales outfit away from relegation last season with some extremely important performances, and the 27-year-old is being tipped for a £50m move to Merseyside.
This undoubtedly strikes fear into the hearts of Swans fans. He's been the club's saviour. Their standout player in a very troublesome period for the team; but a number are yet to realise how the strength of the Swansea board has put the club into a very favourable position.
It would've been easy to let Gylfi go for £30m at the beginning of the summer. It happened to Bony, Ayew and Williams - a tasty looking transfer bid sent into SA1 and the businessmen running the club see only the short-term economic gain.
But it seems they've learnt from last summer. To stay in the Premier League you have to show a certain level of courage - and that's what they've done with Sigurdsson. He's reportedly said he wants to leave and Everton are very eager to acquire his services; but with Sigurdsson still having three years left on his current contract, Swansea are able to show some resolve.
They've done just that. "£50m or he stays" is the message, and for once they're sticking to their guns - making it a win-win situation at the Liberty Stadium.
Nine goals and 13 assists last term show promise - perhaps even that he is worth Swansea's asking price (at a stretch), but when you delve deeper into his stats, the story changes.
Looking at Sigurdsson's 'expected assists' shows how his teammates have boosted his value. The model is based off how likely a pass will become an assist - where the ball is played, where it was received and other factors.
According to Sky Sports, Sigurdsson only produced 6.85 expected assists last season, compared to Christian Eriksen (8.14) and Kevin De Bruyne (13.09) - showing the devastating ability of Fernando Llorente.
The reason for Gylfi's being so low is because most of his chances created came from dead balls. The man is a cut above the rest from set pieces - creating 52 chances from them last season. But in-play, it's a different story.
Sigurdsson created only 25 chances last season from open play - the same as Everton's Gareth Barry and Idrissa Gueye, with Ross Barkley managing more. In fact, 71 players managed more last term than Gylfi did.
Everton will be buying a dead ball player. What's more is that they're actually willing to have their pants pulled down over it, a hefty £50m.
That is, of course, if he leaves. Swansea could find a £20m player to replace Sigurdsson with and still have enough left over to buy Cardiff City FC - there's a nice bit of perspective for you.
This is all off the basis that Swansea will sell. Gylfi is a professional, he loves the club. Despite apparently asking to leave, he will continue to work hard if he stays. The Swans' form at the back end of last season shows that they are good enough to reach mid-table at least, and money is not an issue - the club reportedly still looking into other transfers.
The bottom line is this. If Sigurdsson stays, Swansea have the best spine they've ever had with a manager who has done nothing but impress since his arrival. They also have money to build the team. Swansea will be in a very strong position.
If Sigurdsson leaves, the Swans will need to find a replacement. £50m will do that, and then some. €30m for Jonathon Viera and plenty of cash left to improve the club however the owners wish.