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.