Gylfi Sigurdsson: Another star to succumb to the necessary evil of football?

by Nick Balchin

Upon his return to English football on-loan with Swansea City last season Gylfi Sigurdsson hit the ground running scoring eight goals and assisting four in 18 league appearances.

He is now the star in one of many transfer battles that will engulf the backpages for the next two months and is seemingly faced with one of football’s big questions: To sign for a club on the basis of the football they will play and history of the club or for a club willing to stump up an extortionate salary. Could Sigurdsson be the next footballer to succumb to the necessary evil of the modern game?

Despite Swansea managing to agree a deal with parent club Hoffenheim the loss of manager Brendan Rodgers to Liverpol effectively ended the Swans hopes of acquiring the Icelandic international whilst opening the door wide open for Gylfi to follow the manager who brought out his emphatic form with the Welsh club to Merseyside.

Rodgers had spoken of how he would not be poaching any of his former player’s this transfer window although did speak of his desire to look into signing Sigurdsson if he were to enter the market in the event of the Swansea deal collapsing. Unsurprisingly Sigurdsson entered the market and even gave an interview crediting Rodgers’ move to Liverpool as the main reason for this whilst conceding he would be interested in a move to Anfield.

The two had previously worked together briefly at Reading during the Northern Irishman’s 6 month stint in charge of the club and it seemed the chance to link up with Hoffenheim’s 2010-11 Player of the Season again was an opportunity too good for Rodgers to pass up, he certainly did not regret his decision. Sigurdsson played a major role in allowing the Swans to secure a second season in the Premier League eventually finishing 11th place with 47 points.

The stage was certainly set as reports that Liverpool had agreed an £8 million fee for the Attacking Midfielder and that Sigurdsson had even been on Merseyside to purchase a place to live began to circulate.

Although manager-less Tottenham Hotspur didn’t seem to be interested in any scripts as they entered the race to sign the player most likely as a replacement for the outgoing Luka Modric. Such rumours did not seem worrying at first to Kopites as over the past few seasons many names have been linked with both Premier League clubs almost as a rule of thumb although this time it seemed that this rumour had legs.

Despite the fact Sigurdsson had seemed to turn down a club on the basis of a lack of management, it seemed he could end up turning down a club with a manager he has experience playing for instead opting for a club without a manager. It seems that this transfer drama is proving quite the paradox.

It all seemed strange as the only thing Spurs could have used to attract big names this summer from rival clubs was Champions League football, which was cruelly snatched away from them by Chelsea. The pendulum however appeared to be swinging in the London club’s favour as many reliable sources revealed that Sigurdsson was likely to be moving to Tottenham over Rodgers and Liverpool with a medical with the London club apparently scheduled for today.

Revelations that Spurs were in fact entering the race willing to stump up an offer reportedly twice the size of Liverpool’s to Sigurdsson showed all what bargaining tools were in conflict in this transfer battle. Some claim Sigurdsson is asking for £70,000 a week although the fact he came so close to signing for Swansea who were always unlikely to pay such wages shows that it is in fact Tottenham who are effectively pricing Sigurdsson out of the market.

Of course it is harsh to say that Tottenham have only a willingness to pay Sigurdsson high wages as the an incentive for the transfer. This is a club that managed to reach the Champions League quarter-finals in the 2010-11 season and only missed out on securing Champions League football due to an unprecedented win for sixth placed Chelsea in the competition which made finishing fourth in the Premier League meaningless for Spurs has they were placed into the Europa League.

But it would be a controversial decision that would completely contradict what has Sigurdsson has already said regarding his decision to turn Swansea down. Which would therefore lead many to feel that the decisive factor in the deal was a player’s desire for a large wage rather than just a step up in his career.

It has become just as part of football as anything and has many times already been the reason for a player to move club’s.

However it has allowed club’s such as Manchester City to join the ‘big leagues’ winning recently their first title since 1968 but many fans on the opposing end of a player’s decision to move on the basis of big money offers will speak of their distaste for the way football has a new culture driven by money.

The introduction of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules will certainly help to limit the power funds have in the game to a certain extent although there is no doubt that club’s will be able to find loopholes in order to generate funds regardless of the new regulations.

Of course it isn’t necessarily that Liverpool aren’t able to afford the ‘wild’ wages that now seem to be a necessity if they are to secure Sigurdsson’s signature. It is rather that it is unlikely that they are happy to stump up a figure that would mean he is paid more than Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez. Following last season’s disappointing signings that amounted to over £100 million FSG will not be willing to pay well over the odds for player’s that demand such inflated prices especially as they attempt to integrate the ‘Moneyball’ strategy at the Merseyside club.

The likelihood of ‘loanees’ Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani returning to Liverpool next season also complicates things as both are able to play a similar role to Sigurdsson and also command high wages. Cole has already made it clear he would be open to a second chance at Liverpool to try and disprove his title as a ‘flop’ although Aquilani will not be as pleased to remain on Merseyside and a permanent return to Italy would be his preferred move.

Sources close to the club have revealed that they will not match Tottenham’s offer although do still consider themselves to be in the race. This gives off the impression that the club are hoping the Rodgers link could still swing it and it has been reported the Reds coach has recently had informal ‘talks’ with the Icelandic midfielder in a possible bid to save the club’s approach for the player.

Of course all the current reports of a move to Liverpool or Tottenham have to be taken with a pinch of salt but with a deadline of June 30th set by Hoffenheim for a deal to be agreed this transfer speculation will soon be over although the outcome of Sigurdsson’s decision will certainly show the true figure of the man.

Would he really contradict his decision to turn away from Swansea to then join Tottenham over Liverpool? There is no doubt that he and Rodgers have a good relationship with each other although whether Rodgers will be happy knowing the player he would have felt confident of acquiring has had his head so easily turned is doubtful.

One thing is for sure though and it is that this certainly won’t be the last transfer ‘tug of’ war’ he will embroiled in as Liverpool manager and it is good practise for what is in store for the coach.

19 Responses

  1. Tim says:

    “an avid Liverpool fan”.
    No shit

  2. Andrew says:

    Surely you would accept that last season Spurs played considerably better football then Liverpool?
    It is also highly unlikely the wages are 70,000 considering that is Tottenhams current wage cap.
    It is more likely that the wages Liverpool offered were in the region of 25-35k and spurs offered 40-50k. Otherwise he would be on the same wages as Bale and modric and more than VDV?

    It is also highly likely that siggurdsson is well aware who the new Manager is going to be given that every man and his dog is waiting for AVB to be announced on Monday.

    This is surely just a simple case of being offered a place at a club that has recently played better than Liverpool and is willing to pay that bit extra(highly doubt the wage difference is as high as some would have you believe)

    I haven’t proof read this so hopefully autocorrect doesn’t mess it up to much!

    1. Hazz says:

      To be fair, author did make note of Spurs’ recent successes and also said people should take reports ‘with a pinch of salt’

      Isn’t as if the piece was just about mocking Spurs, it posed the question of the deal being motivating by money.

  3. Mark G says:

    You are ignoring the loud rumors that the Spurs most likely already have a maneger (Villas Boas) although it has not been announced yet (much like the rumored signing of Sigurdsson). So it isn´t such a clear cut money grabbing move by Sigurdsson as you make it out to be…

  4. Keiran says:

    I’m guessing the fact that we’ve managed to finish above Liverpool for the last three years now has absolutely nothing to do with Sigurdsson choosing White Hart Lane over Anfield, eh? If that’s not the case, then poor Liverpool. How dare we offer more wages than they have(!!) And with the fact that Jan Vertonghen is close to signing, plus Bale has already signed a new contract only days ago, obviously the players are aware that we should have our new man within the next few days.

    1. James says:

      He was about to join a club who finished in 11th place? Do not think where club’s have finished has anything to do with it. He wanted to play for Rodgers and Levy came in with a large offer so he has a replacement for Modric confirmed. Clearly the offer has turned the player’s head.

      This deal has nothing to do with AVB, it was in the works before it became clear he was going to get the job.

      1. Realist says:

        I think James & other pool fans have to face facts. The story is more about Liverpool being a mid table finishing club & not paying Champions League wages now. Spurs have a wage limit of 70k which Sigurdsson will not be earning. Swans will offer 25-30, Pool 40 & Spurs 40-50k. Liverpool Echo report has no indepth knowledge so pretty baseless.

        1. James says:

          Liverpool’s owners simply are not willing to pay over the odds for a player like the club has many times in the past. If they were to up their offer to match Spurs then there is no doubt that Sigurdsson would then join Liverpool!He just is not good enough to demand “Champions League” wages.

          Do you not think Rodgers would demand the deal is financed if he was sure the player was worth it? He knows him better than anyone involved in the deal.

          Think you Spurs fans need to face facts. A few good seasons doesn’t mean every player will jump at any chance to join your club.

    2. Tim Harris says:

      Bale’s contract still had 3 years left anyway… He’s got a huge pay rise for one more year on his contract, Which is meaningless! Don’t get your hopes up. The only way you lot can get a mediocre player is with a ridiculous wage offer!!

      1. Realist says:

        Talking of mediocre players ‘How did the Joe Cole transfer turn out ?’ … Seems like Pool have been offering players big wages / incentives to sign all the way back to Souness. Now they are lumbered with Glen Johnson, Cole, Aqulani, Gerrard & more all £100k + a week. New owners are trying to reign in huge wage bill with no Champ’s League. KK shot they massive transfer budget in roulette roll to get back into top 4. Now reality buy and slowly build. Option to sign for top 4 club in Spurs arose & live in London. Who would take it ? So then story made up to say all about wages..

        1. James says:

          As well documented, sigurdsson turned Swansea down because they lost Rodgers and had no manager at the time. This deal has nothing to do with AVB or who finished higher. Spurs went in with a ludicrous offer hoping the player would be tempted by a larger wage and it seems to have worked. Spurs fans trying to act like it is not anything to do with wages are far from realists.

  5. Ross says:

    In 90% of cases it is about wages and every utterance made by a footballer that suggests anything else is at best PR fluff fans that believe anything else are putting it kindly a little bit gullible.

    My take on Sigurdsson is

    act1 Much to everyone’s surprise Swansea found £6.8m to meet Hoffenheim’s valuation. At this point he is joining Swansea and lets just assume he not joining the Swans out of the kindness of his heart and there are no other offers on the table.

    act2 Rodgers jumps ship to Liverpool. Happy days Sigurdsson now very keen to join Rodgers on Merseyside particularly as the money is better and Hoffenheim manage to squeeze another £1.2m from Liverpool for their trouble. Sigurdsson’s excuse for jilting Swansea is they haven’t got a manager and he worships the very ground that Rodgers walks upon.

    Act 3 Enter Spurs with more money. Not sure where they were during Act’s 1 or 2 but they are here now to turn the young man’s head with the bright lights of London a place in the Europa League and critically more MONEY. They do not have a manager (although he might be lurking somewhere offstage not formally involved because his compensation deal does not allow it) but they do have more money and the excuse for dumping Liverpool is that Spurs finished higher up the league.

    At the end of the day have been another £10k a week but that is £500,000 a year or £1.5m over the course of a 3 year contract. It also put’s Sigurdsson’s wages at an even higher level when he get’s his dream move to Man City, Man United or where ever happens to be paying top dollar at the time.

    Now repeat after me “SHOW ME THE MONEY”

  6. Martyn says:

    You pool fans make me laugh . Not so funny now Gylfi as bombed you out.
    Good luck to him he did well for us last season .nevermind hey there is always mark Davies from Bolton lol how the mighty have fallen

  7. Martyn says:

    Act 1 as silly mistake Swansea are more solvent than most premiership clubs and are run by people who support the club unlike Liverpool owned by carpetbaggers .

    1. Ross says:

      Yeah they are both solvent and well run which is why it was surprising they stumped up £6.8m on one player however gifted.

      It is the sort of thing Pompey did on a regular basis before they went bust however to date Swansea haven’t. I have the greatest respect for Swansea if anyone was wronged in this saga it is the Swans not L’pool

  8. DST says:

    So after many years of over inflating players wages to attract them to Liverpool, new owners are now trying to use some sort of salary structure. By now offering lower wages you’ll be attracting players like Davies from Bolton that nobody else wants. Harsh reality is that whilst club has great history then present & future look pretty bleak to potential signings.

    1. James says:

      The club just don’t want to pay inflated wages to mediocre player’s like they have countless times in the past. with tht considered the Sigurdsson saga is a good sign. Would rather see the club paying large wages to player’s who warrant them. The Davies story has no truth in it. Shouldnt believe everything you read, eh?

      1. DST says:

        Shouldn’t believe everything you read ? Such as Spurs offering Sigurdsson silly wages ! With Spurs paying top of £70k week to stars VDV,Modric & Bale, not new signings. Plus his father now reported as saying wages story is all lies. So what you really saying is believe what you want to believe .. Red tinted specs !!!

  9. Matty Francis says:

    Seems like agent has been looking to get biggest and best deal for player as he in entitled to do.

    Disappointing but I guess it is just how the game is now.

    Rodgers will look at other players! As mentioned on here if he thought sigurdsson was worth a larger contract he would demand it. Clearly he does not feel he is!! Oh well.

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