Of all the players outside of the Premier League’s top seven, few have been so consistently impressive as Gylfi Sigurdsson. Having failed to establish himself at Tottenham, the Iceland talisman has thrived during his second spell at Swansea City, and at times it felt as if he was single-handedly trying to keep them from the drop last season.
Given those performances, it is no surprise that the 27-year-old is seemingly the subject of a bidding war this summer. Leicester City have been rumoured to have had a £40 million bid rejected while Everton are said to have switched their sights towards south Wales as they continue their summer of restructuring. The Swans have in turn placed a £50m pricetag on their prized asset, and it is not difficult to see why.
An expert from set-pieces, he finished the 2016-17 campaign with nine Premier League goals and 13 assists, with his partnership with Fernando Llorente one of the most lethal in the whole top-flight. Though eight players managed more combined goals and assists during the season, they all played for top seven sides.
In addition to that, according to Opta data, Sigurdsson was the player who was involved in the most sequences that resulted in a shot on goal outside of the top six clubs. Sequences are defined as uninterrupted passages of play where the ball is in possession of one team, which are ended by defensive actions, stoppages in play or a shot, and the Swansea man was involved in 230 of such moves that closed out with his side having an attempt on goal.
Of those moves, 26 ended in the Liberty Stadium outfit finding the net. Put simply, that meant Sigurdsson was involved in 57 per cent of the moves that led to his team scoring a Premier League goal last season.
Only Manchester United new boy Romelu Lukaku was involved in more goalscoring sequences (32) outside the top six, though in a team that scored 62 goals his percentage is lower than that of Sigurdsson.
Such statistics might see some fans argue that he deserves another chance at a Champions League-level club, but he has been burnt before at Spurs by a lack of game time, and in a World Cup year where he could lead his country to their first global tournament, it would be a risk not to be playing every week and maintaining his best form.
That said, there is no doubt that Swansea should do all they can to get the best price for a player that can be a game-changer at the highest level. Whether those interested can match their valuation remains to be seen.