Rather than cultivating talent, Tottenham have had a worrying habit of often quashing it. A long history of young talents having their careers derailed by spells in North London; Bentley, Dos Santos and Boateng are just a few of the standout names. A summer revamp in response to the Bale departure has created intense competition for places at the Premier League club and the potential for more talented to slip the net.
You could be forgiven for thinking that something would have to give, and most would have had the mercurial Sigurdsson high on their lists.
The Icelandic midfielder has been a serious point of debate for many Spurs fans, whilst he is clearly a highly talented individual, can he really fit the shape that AVB desires at the club? Apparently most comfortable as an advanced midfielder playing in and around the frontman, the capture of Holtby and most recently Eriksen has meant that Sigurdsson has been forced to ply his trade out wide, a position that he doesn’t appear quite as natural.
Indeed Sigurdsson neither offers the pace not the width of say a Lennon or Townsend, and I counted myself amongst those that saw his inclusion as a mere stop-gap before the eventual transition of out and out wide men into the team. It still may be the case that Sigurdsson is eventually forced out of his current berth, but personally as the standout player for Spurs this season he merits continued selection.
The 24 year old has had a breakthrough start to the season after failing to impress last term during his first season for the club. Highly gifted technically, Sigurdsson has shown he has the wit to outfox opposition whilst also offering Spurs some much-needed ammunition in the final third. The most direct of all Spurs’ attacking midfielders, his ability to muster opportunities from deep has been crucial for a Spurs side struggling to get into the final third on a regular basis.
His goal against Chelsea last month saw him equal his tally from last season and marker a period of excellent goal scoring form from the midfielder. Speaking after the game, Assistant Coach Steffen Freund heaped the following lavish praise on the star:
“Gylfi is on fire this season, scoring goals and his movement is fantastic from the left coming inside,” Freund told the club’s official website.
Sigurdsson has indeed been the most dangerous amongst a pretty inept collection of attacking players, three goals in the league along with the creation of eight goal scoring chances for other underlines the progress that the midfielder is making. The onus is always to contribute to the team even when you may not be scoring yourself, and Sigurdsson so often does this with his excellent passing range and footballing ability.
The problem though even for a full firing Sigurdsson is to whether he will ever fit AVB’s 4-2-3-1, a system which in my opinion has fallen down due to a lack of width created by the current first choice personnel. Take last night where Sheriff for long periods were able defend admirably and with apparent ease for long periods as a results of Spurs’ insistence of playing down the middle. Spurs eventual cut the Moldovan’s apart from the moment that Lamela got wide enough to get a bit of paint on his boots and stretch the Sheriff backline. Teams find it easy to defend against a narrow frontline and my fear is that with Sigurdsson out wide there will be a continued tendency to player through the middle.
It is unfortunate because Sigurdsson regardless of form will struggle to ever nail down that number 10 spot simply because Eriksen and Holtby stand in his way and as of late the German has made that position his own. That said it is never easy to second guess AVB and he has shown an unerring sense of loyalty towards the Icelandic midfielder that could suggest his position in the Spurs set-up may not be as under threat as one might think.
AVB continually displays loyalty to those that work tirelessly and impress regularly, Sigurdsson comes into this bracket and regardless of his shortcomings I expect AVB, rightly or wrongly, to persist with him.
Spurs may well be starting to see the best of Sigurdsson this season, but in my opinion his long-term future just isn’t in the famous ‘lilywhite’. Unfortunately some players regardless of how good they may be just never fit a system, Defoe another prime example in my view. Whilst I expect his form to continue, don’t discount a move away anytime soon as AVB looks to integrate some of his summer acquisitions.