Return to Swansea and the rebirth of Gylfi Sigurdsson

For some, Swansea’s early season achievements may well have flown under the radar slightly given the fall from grace of Manchester United or the initial form of Premier League title favourites Chelsea and Manchester City.

However, after three wins from three games, including victory at Old Trafford, any fears the Welsh side’s fans had that a tough campaign awaited their team will have been washed away.

Despite the fact that Michael Laudrup is no longer in the Liberty Stadium hotseat and the likes of Michu, Michel Vorm and Ben Davies have left the club, Swansea look as rounded and competent a side now as they have since their promotion to the top flight.

One of the side’s stellar early season performers has been Gylfi Sigurdsson, resuming where he left off in South Wales after a two-year sabbatical at Tottenham.

The summer departure of Michu to Napoli on loan had the potential to rob Garry Monk’s men of individualism and creative intent, but the Icelandic midfielder’s return appears to have eased concerns.

As part of an impressive three-man central midfield, Sigurdsson has been given licence to get forward and support loan frontman Wilfried Bony – a move that has unleashed his eye for a killer pass and natural scoring instinct.

The heart of Swansea’s team is this midfield triumvirate, which also contains Jonjo Shelvey and Ki Sung-yueng, after an impressive loan spell at Sunderland.

The trio contains an enviable range of skills; Ki’s work-rate and poise on the ball, and Shelvey’s range of passing and thunderous long shots being key parts of Swansea’s play.

However, Sigurdsson’s versatility, movement off the ball and attacking nous make the Swans a much more dangerous side in the final third; something that was missing at times last term with Michu injured or not at his best.

It was at the Liberty Stadium that Sigurdsson first announced himself to the British footballing public, with an impressive six-month loan in Wales back in 2012.

Seven goals in 18 games played their part in Swansea’s excellent debut campaign in the Premier League and earned the Scandinavian a £8.8 million move to White Hart Lane from German side Hoffenheim.

Gylfi SigurdssonOver two seasons in north London, Sigurdsson had mixed fortunes.

A slow start to his Spurs career was compounded by frequently having to play out of position on the left-side of midfield or being omitted from the starting XI altogether.

When he was given a chance, Sigurdsson did prove that he was more than good enough and often chalked up important goals for Tottenham – strikes both at home and away to Chelsea sticking in the memory.

However, with Christian Eriksen now commanding the role of main playmaker at Spurs, the resurgence of Erik Lamela and the continued presence of Lewis Holtby and others, opportunities to play this term would have been fleeting.

Tottenham fans will be split in their opinion over Sigurdsson’s sale though.

Last season, with Spurs’ 4-2-3-1 formation lacking real attacking menace at times except for the individualism of Eriksen, many were crying out for Sigurdsson to play more of a prominent role. There is still a case to suggest that the Icelander would have been a valuable asset for Mauricio Pochettino.

Despite this, Sigurdsson’s decision to return to Swansea has been more than vindicated by strong early season form and the knowledge that he will play week-in, week-out when available for his new side.

Maybe not as star-studded or glamorous as the central midfields of the top clubs in England, Swansea will be tough opponents for allcomers this season with their talented trio in the heart of the team.

For Sigurdsson, there is potential for continual improvement at the Liberty Stadium with more regular action under his belt and as he gets used to playing with new team-mates.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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