There was a lot of surprise that Gylfi Sigurdsson would choose to join Spurs over Liverpool as Gylfi’s previous manager, Brendon Rodgers, is now at the helm at Anfield. Everyone thought it was a foregone conclusion however Spurs have trumped the Merseyside giants and attracted the former Swansea star to White Hart Lane (More money? Better squad? Top four side? Villas Boas? All of the above?).
Should we be surprised though? Spurs have consistently finished above Liverpool in the last few years and would have qualified for the 2012/13 Champions League had it not been for Chelsea’s European glory in May. The fact is that he is now a Tottenham Hotspur’s player and will continue to appear in white next season. We’re going to look at some of Gylfi’s stats from our Opta Stats Centre (Subscribe Now!) and compare him to his rivals & colleagues.
Do Spurs really need Gylfi Sigurdsson?
The first question is do Spurs really need him? We’re going to look at creative players from the two clubs that were in the race to sign Gylfi: Liverpool and Spurs.
I’ve sorted the table by most frequent chance creators. I’ve divided the total number of minutes played by the total number of chances created to give a minutes per chance value which will make it fair comparison as it shows the frequency of chances created rather than the total.
As you can see Sigurdsson edges van der Vaart by less than a minute here however he tops the list. The list is a highly talented one with Modric, Bellamy, Bale, Suarez and Steven Gerrard included. As you can see the top three players are now all Spurs players.
There have been rumours that Luka Modric will move away from White Hart Lane this summer however Sigurdsson is more of VDV type player than a Luka Modric although you could see him taking Modric’s place in the formation shown in this article by Jed Davies: What would an AVB Tottenham look like?
Moving onto the Liverpool side you can see that Gylfi is exactly what they need. Excluding Gylfi, four out of the top five players in the list are from Spurs. Although Liverpool didn’t have any problems creating chances last season they still lagged behind Spurs and the stats clearly show this. Adding Gylfi Sigurdsson, providing he performed as he did at Swansea, would have given Liverpool a lot more creativity in their side.
Having said that if Spurs are poised to lose Modric; then Gylfi should be able to add not only creativity but goal scoring from the middle of the park. Therefore to answer the question Spurs will definitely need Sigurdsson if they lose one of their midfielders Modric/VDV. Liverpool would benefit from the services of Sigurdsson regardless.
Gylfi Sigurdsson is not only a creative player but he adds goals too. The table to the right details his stats for goalscoring last season in a Swansea side that struggled to score many goals whereas at the start of the season Spurs were firing them in on all cylinders.
As shown in the table Gylfi scored almost as often as Rafael va der Vaart last season and way more often than Bale and Modric. Yes I know Bale scored more but look at the minutes played and the mins per goal statistic. That is the telling stat here. I haven’t included Liverpool players here because not even their strikers are scoring as frequently as Gylfi. In fact the only player that beats the scoring rate in the Liverpool FC side is Maxi Rodriguez but with Maxi only getting 800 minutes of playing time last season there are reports that he’s wanting to return home to Argentina.
So apart from Maxi, Gylfi scores at a better rate than all the Liverpool players showing why his addition would have been ideal for them. It’s been reported on Twitter that Spurs offered a higher salary to Gylfi, that and the prospect of joining a Top 4 side that has regularly finished above Liverpool obviously persuaded Gylfi that joining the London-based side was a better proposition than staying with the manager that showed faith in him at Swansea and pulled him out of a tricky situation at Hoffenheim. He certainly had a tough decision to make and is now a Spur!
Gylfi Creativity Compared to the rest of League
As the article has already pointed out, Gylfi Sigurdsson’s main strength is the creative aspect of his game. This last section will compare him to his rivals in the league that have played 500 minutes or more.
Carlos Tevez just made it into this comparison (601 minutes played) table and was very impressive creating a chance every 18.78 minutes – that’s an astonishing rate even for the small amount of games he’s played. He created 32 chances in this time (this excludes the five clear-cut chances he provided) and scored at a rate of a goal every 150 mins. He certainly added something extra to the Champions when he came back from his hiatus.
Juan Mata & David Silva were always going to be at the top of this list and what a glorious few months these two players have had. Impressively Gylfi Sigurdsson manages to come seventh in the list of most creative players in the league last season (for those that have played 500 minutes or more). He managed it in only half a season but what a season no wonder the likes of Liverpool and Spurs were after him.
Gylfi’s a good signing
It’s clear Liverpool that Gylfi fills many gaps that Liverpool have in their squad and would have been a first team regular. You can only presume that Brendan Rodgers has a few tricks up his sleeve and he’ll do well to find a better player, at least statistically, than Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Taking the statistics available on board Gylfi is an excellent signing for Spurs and he will cover the loss of either VDV or Modric adequately. However if neither of those players leave the question would be asked:
“Will he get a game over van der Vaart and Modric?”
Either way it’s a great first acquisition for Andres Villas Boas/Dan Levy and one (after reading these stats) that I’m sure will excite the Spurs supporters.