Sources close to Swansea City say that Everton have had a big £27m bid for Gylfi Sigurdsson rejected yesterday. In addition, the same sources said that this was the Toffees’ first offer which is interesting news to us fans considering we’ve been hearing about the links with Sigurdsson since the end of the season.
The Swans recently said that they valued him at £40m, a number which might make sense to the Welsh club considering how key he has been to their survival over the last few years. However, this might also be seen as posturing considering the windfall Everton are expected to come across with the departure of Romelu Lukaku.
With Ross Barkley’s refusal to sign a bumper new contract, Everton went and added Davy Klaassen to play in the mdifield and Sigurdsson was earmarked to play in the no. 10 role, which in Koeman’s eyes only leaves a spot for Barkley out on the right wing. That is not all bad however, considering his struggles in the middle.
In a very eye-opening analysis of the Sigurdsson and Barkley with their statistics compared, football analyst Paul Riley concluded among many other things that Barkley was actually better at winning the ball back and did so in much deeper spaces as well.
While both have a similar expected goals ratio, it is in dead ball situations that Sigurdsson has been the most valuable in recent years. However, Everton’s addition of Klaassen and likely Sandro Ramirez mitigates that issue, which then leaves the Blues with their same issue of chance creation from open play, which is where both Sigurdsson and Barkley have struggled (160th and 70th respectively, out of 201 players over the last 2 seasons that have played 1000 minutes and directly created at least 20 chances).
With that in mind, it’ll be interesting to see if Everton up their bid again, or decide to move on to different targets. It’ll depend on if Koeman sees Sigurdsson as a direct Barkley replacement, or if he sees the Icelander come in and do something different from what Ross has been doing.