Everton, Gylfi Sigurdsson and why debate over [pounds sterling]40m transfer fee will never go away; In this week's Royal Blue, Phil Kirkbride examines a debate often heard among Everton supporters - is Gylfi Sigurdsson really value for money?
'Of course he has'
'Not so sure, you know'
'He scored 13 goals last season.'
'Yeah...but he's not that consistent. He only scored four league goals the one before. I thought he was going to be a game-changer for us.'
'He got six assists as well last season. Eriksen at Tottenham was only involved in one more league goal than him last season and he's off to Madrid.'
'He goes missing in some games...and what about the pens he missed?! I expected more out of him for that amount. And don't talk to me about Palace last weekend.'
Hands up if you've had a near exact conversation when one of you or your mates has posed the Gylfi Sigurdsson question.
It's a common discussion, a straightforward query but not necessarily an easy answer.
So, has the club's record signing been value for money?
A [pounds sterling]40m capture two years ago, the basics tell you Sigurdsson has scored 20 goals in all competitions and provided 12 assists since.
Not exactly bad going.
We also know that last season, when deployed in his best position as a No10, was his most prolific in front of goal.
Stuck out wide left, in a deeper role and even upfront (which he claims to have enjoyed despite being handed a thankless task) in his debut campaign, he was never going to show his best butMarco Silva, straight away, put that right.
The results of moving him centre stage are there for everyone to see.
He has his own highlight reel of spectacular goals, has games where he finds reserves of energy to press and harass defenders more than anyone and, technically, there isn't a team-mate better.
And now central to a younger, more vibrant, quicker and energeticEvertonside under Silva, Sigurdsson has rediscovered his form.
Better is still to come, you'd hope, as Silva's Blues develop with the Icelander pulling the strings.
Marcel Brandsonce said such is his admiration for players of that ilk he would have a team full of Sigurdssons while it has been confirmed he will be part of thesquad's captaincy group again this season.
Sigurdsson, with experience and into his peak years, is clearly very important to the development of this Blues side and the addition of Moise Kean, in particular, will have had the 29-year-old rubbing his hands together.
He will look at the 19-year-old and see assists.
So why does uncertainty exist? Why do conversations, like the one above, happen about Sigurdsson?
It has to be down to expectation. A club record transfer fee can be batted off as nothing to do with the player or an irrelevant number, but it matters to many in the stands. It carries pressure and demands that all other transfers don't.
Unfair as that may be, it is a reality.
And so for around [pounds sterling]40m is the belief, among some, that Sigurdsson would deliver more than he has done?
That 20 goals across two seasons would be closer to 30 or that he would have created more than the 12 goals he has and single-handedly won more games than he has?
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Was the expectation he would rise above the turmoil of his first season and drag the team out of trouble, despite Everton lacking a senior striker for him to play off as well as changing managers?
There are some who argue his spectacular strikes paper over some below par performances.
At the heart of it, is there a belief that a club record signing should be your best player more weeks than not?
That's probably it.
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But he does have dips in form and falls below his standards but imagine a starting line-up without him?
There has been plenty of talk in recent weeks, and months, about how a change of formation is on the horizon at Goodison.
How the arrival of Fabian Delph will finally unlock the doors to Silva's preferred system of 4-3-3 and why Sigurdsson could be the high-profile casualty of such a switch.
It's all logical and backed up with sound reason. It may yet come to pass.
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But given his goals record, his ability to assist, the type of team that is being built around him and all of the quality he possess, leaving him out of the team sounds like madness.
He may never receive universal acclaim as a value-for-money record signing and that very conversation may rumble on, without agreement, long after he has left the club.
But, right now, Sigurdsson has to be in the team, however much he cost.
Credit: Visionhaus/Getty Images
Gylfi Sigurdsson of Everton celebrates
Credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Gylfi Sigurdsson of Everton scores during the Premier League match with Southampton at St Mary's Stadium on November 26, 2017
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|Publication:||Crosby Herald (Liverpool, England)|
|Date:||Aug 17, 2019|
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