Anybody who has watched Everton this season will know how invaluable Gylfi Sigurdsson has been to the club, but how far has he improved from last season according to the experts?
Plenty of eyebrows were raised when the Toffees decided to splurge £45 million on the Iceland international in July 2017, and his contingent of sceptics were certainly well within their rights to question the merits of the deal last season.
Sigrudsson struggled to play with the swagger or quality of a £45 million player under both Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce, but the arrival of Marco Silva has shifted the dynamic.
A manager who is renowned for his preference for a possession-based and aesthetically appealing style of football, Silva has provided Sigurdsson with an environment he can genuinely thrive in.
In his favoured number ten role Sigurdsson has been central to everything positive Everton have produced in the final-third this season, and it seems there is statistical evidence to validate the widespread admiration he has received throughout the British media.
With an average rating improvement of 0.73 on last season, Callum Wilson tops the list following his brilliant opening to the new campaign with Bournemouth, but Sigurdsson is a close second with an improvement of 0.62 on last season, although his overall rating is actually better than Wilson’s at 7.52.
Laurence had this to say about Sigurdsson:
‘Forced to play out of position on the left all too often under Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce, the Iceland international is now flourishing in his favoured role behind the striker following the arrivals of Marco Silva and, pertinently, Richarlison.
‘The playmaker’s figures for key passes per game have more than doubled (from 1.4 to 2.9) and he has already scored some trademark stunners this season, with four goals in eight games enough to match last season’s total from 27 matches.’
Naturally goals are one of the most telling factors in determining a players overall rating, and the fact Sigurdsson has already equalled his tally of 4 league goals from last season has certainly contributed to his place on the podium.
But it’s not only Sigurdsson’s goal-scoring return which has improved this season, it’s his all-round game. Silva has enabled him to rediscover his confidence on the ball and Everton are reaping the rewards from a notable transformation.
Sigurdsson is at his most devastating when he is given time and space to pick his head up and link up with his teammates in the final-third but, whilst his opponents undoubtedly acknowledge his threat prior to kick-off, stopping him is far easier on paper than it is in reality.
The statistics are there to prove it: Sigurdsson is a man transformed under Silva this season.
Everton fans – thoughts? Let us know below!