Everton travel to the King Power Stadium this weekend for a clash which sees two of the Premier League’s most likely contenders to qualify for the Europa League go head-to-head, but neither side have been totally convincing so far this season.
The Foxes might well have won the Premier League in unprecedented circumstances in 2016, but one anomalous season cannot influence their aspirations. A place in the Europa League is about as much as they can hope for with the players at their disposal, but in James Maddison they have a player who looks destined to play at the highest level in the coming years.
On the other hand, Everton have found themselves caught in no mans land in recent years with aspirations of breaching the top-four representing nothing more than mere fantasy. A Europa League qualification spot is the aim and if Gylfi Sigurdsson manages to stay fit they have every chance of achieving that.
Ahead of the weekend clash it’s an appropriate time to assess the aforementioned playmakers of both clubs to determine whether Everton or Leicester got the best value for money deal.
Leicester’s £20 million acquisition has made a seamless transition from the Championship to the Premier League this season and has deservedly earned esteemed praise for his performances.
In a number ten role behind Jamie Vardy, Maddison has utilised his wonderful technical ability and creative spark to give Leicester a trustworthy outlet in midfield.
He possesses an incisive range of passing, the unteachable ability to find pockets of space in the final-third and an end product to match.
At just £20 million Maddison already looks like a steal and, if he continues to develop at the exponential rate he is currently on, there’s no doubt he will be in Gareth Southgate’s England’s squad for Euro 2020.
TT Grade: A
Like Maddison, Sigurdsson is his club’s main source of creativity in midfield and without him it’s fair to say Marco Silva would be missing a crucial cog in his attacking unit.
Sigurdsson is more established than Maddison and his previous experience in the Premier League naturally drove up his price-tag to an astronomical £45 million in August 2017 – a fee which was well over his true value.
There is no doubt that the Icelandic maestro is a huge talent and one of Everton’s most important players, but the fact he failed to break into Tottenham’s first team during his spell in north London suggests he is a Europa League standard player at best.
Sigurdsson is a brilliant asset for Everton to have but at £45 million the Toffees certainly paid over the odds to secure his services.
TT Grade: A-
Both Maddison and Sigurdsson are absolutely pivotal to the success their respective clubs will enjoy in the coming seasons, however, on balance, the Leicester City ace is the better of the two players.
At just 21-years-of-age Maddison has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water and he’s only bound to improve with greater exposure at this level.
His return of 3 goals and 2 assists from 7 appearances is better than Sigurdsson’s return and, considering this is his first taste of top-flight football, it already looks like Leicester have pulled a masterstroke.
On the basis that he was £25 million cheaper than Sigurdsson, the Everton hierarchy will surely be kicking themselves after missing out on England’s next big thing.
Everton and Leicester City fans – thoughts? Let us know below!
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