Next up in our player by player review of the past Everton season, in which each individual will be recapped and rated is: Gylfi Sigurðsson
After a first year at Goodison Park was beset by injuries, playing out of position and the wing and the ghastly brands of football of Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce, Gylfi Sigurðsson’s second term on Merseyside was undoubtedly far more successful.
The Iceland international arrived from Swansea in August 2017 with a £45 million price tag on his head, and while he may have only sporadically looked like a player worth such a hefty fee, he has quietly become one of Everton’s more important players under Marco Silva.
A dreadful period in the middle of the season cannot be forgotten, and too often from December to late February, Sigurðsson proved totally ineffective.
But this lean spell was book-ended by a strong start and finish to the campaign, in which he netted 14 goals to finish joint-top scorer with Richarlison, so it’s hard to be too critical of him.
An impressive pass success rate of 76.2 per cent from Sigurðsson shows that he is still the most likely man from midfield to thread through the killer ball, and nobody in royal blue created more chances for Everton than his 74 this term.
Meanwhile, 34 shots on target from 54 efforts on goal is a decent return for a number ten, and three strikes coming from outside the box, including that show-stopping goal of the season match-winner at Leicester City, prove how Sigurðsson is still capable of the spectacular.
And of course, 14 goals and six assists is a commendable return for an attacking midfielder.
Sigurðsson was used far more efficiently by Silva than his predecessors did; only once, in that wretched 1-0 defeat at Watford in February, did the manager start him on the wing, to unsurprisingly little effect.
Other than that, Sigurðsson always played where he seems best-suited; behind the striker, but ahead of the two other, deeper central midfielders.
At times, he has looked ill-suited to Silva’s more high-octane, dynamic system due to his own evident lack of pace, and certainly could have had no complaints had he been dropped more often during his terrible winter spell.
But he still provides the best connection between the midfield and the front line, and 41 appearances in 2018-19 for the Blues suggests Silva trusts few players more than he does Sigurðsson.
It come as a fairly large shock should Sigurðsson not start 2019-20 as still an Everton regular. Evidently, other areas are in greater need of summer surgery; namely up front, on the wing and in central defence.
But at 29, Silva and director of football Marcel Brands would be wise to start planning for life after Sigurðsson sooner rather than later. Not least because, as he showed this season, he often veers from one extremity to the other; either he is absolutely crucial to Everton’s game or he appears totally anonymous.
So, while Sigurðsson is likely to remain an Everton starter for much of next season, don’t be surprised if we begin to see the early signs of his phasing out of the starting XI.
Certainly, after missing three penalties this year, he should be stripped of spot-kick duties from now on.
It should be higher, given only Romelu Lukaku and Louis Saha have managed more Everton goals in one season in the last ten years than Sigurðsson’s 14 this campaign.
But as euphoric as his highs were, such as the Leicester stunner or the long-range drive in the 4-0 win over Manchester United, it is impossible to discard the lows altogether.
That Sigurðsson managed such an impressive goal return and was not really ever in the discussion for player of the year probably gives credence to the notion that stats can deceive at times.