Swansea’s capture of 22-year-old Gylfi Sigurdsson from Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim was a January move that attracted little interest. While the media shone their spotlight elsewhere, the Icelandic playmaker arrived in Wales with little fanfare. Brendan Rodgers, having worked with Sigurdsson at Reading, knew different.
The signing of Sigurdsson proved a masterstroke. While Swansea had struggled for a cutting edge, Rodgers had introduced a player who handed his side a real threat from midfield.
Deployed in a central role, playing in support of a lone striker, Sigurdsson was given license to roam and deal damage. His long-range shooting, graceful stride and the ability to raid the penalty box with purpose were all in evidence from day one. Having suffered frustration at Hoffenheim, Sigurdsson took little time in adjusting to Swansea’s classy brand of football, announcing himself in the English top flight as Fantasy managers quickly began to take notice.
Sigurdsson’s impact at the Liberty was almost immediate. An appearance from the bench brought him an assist in a 3-2 win over Arsenal, which was followed by two more assists and a goal in the next three matches. The 13-point haul at West Brom in Gameweek 24 signaled the start of an extraordinary run of goals away from home as the Icelander hit a brace at both Wigan and Fulham in March, whilst also notching in a 3-1 defeat at Spurs.
Six goals in his first ten starts demonstrated his goal threat, couple that with four assists and it was clear that Sigurdsson offered real value for money in Fantasy terms: by Gameweek 31, his modest initial price tag of 5.0 in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game had risen by 0.4.
Ironically, while his ownership and price continued to increase, this interest was to signal a comparatively lean spell for the Swansea man. Sigurdsson closed the season with just a single goal and two assists from Gameweek 32 onwards. Nevertheless, his value to the Swans as a mid-price Fantasy asset was obvious. Seven goals, five assists and 11 FPL bonus points was an outstanding return for a 5.0 midfield option; an average of 5.7 points per game was better than any midfielder in the game, edging Clint Dempsey’s 5.6.
Before the new blood is introduced, Brendan Rodgers has made keeping Sigurdsson at the club a priority. From the news last night, it appears that he may have got his wish. Sky have reported that a fee for Sigurdsson had been agreed with Hoffenheim and it looks as though he’ll be within their squad and on our wishlists for next season.
That has to be the best outcome for all concerned, although we now have to brace ourselves for a major hike in Sigurdsson’s Fantasy valuation.
He’s likely to move up the midfield brackets in dramatic style, perhaps even edging out of the mid-price to share a ballpark with the likes of Theo Walcott and Antonio Valencia. With such a low price this season, we can perhaps hope for something around the 7.0 – 7.5 mark in the FPL, although that could well be optimistic given Sigurdsson’s rate of returns.
Should he demand 8.0 or more, it remains to be seen if Sigurdsson would attract interest. With heavy-hitting forwards likely to remain the priority next term, we’re set to be scratching around for budget midfield talent, whilst looking to one or two expensive and secure assets. Suddenly Sigurdsson would keep illustrious company and would need to maintain a strong rate of returns to gain suitors.
Sigurdsson’s price tag will be one of the first to be scanned when the player lists are published: it seems set to make or break his potential as a Fantasy asset next season.