Swansea City were already the darlings of the Premier League, winning over fans up and down the country with their ball retention and nimble passing, then Gylfi Sigurdsson arrived. Nine Premier League games, five goals and two assists later, he has provided the Swans with a cutting edge to go with their aesthetically pleasing football. Four of those goals were scored in the last three games – wins over Wigan Athletic, Manchester City and Fulham – results that have propelled them to eighth in the table and banished the spectre of relegation.
Swansea have benefitted from tumultuous times at Sigurdsson’s parent club Hoffenheim. Bankrolled by software billionaire Dietmar Hopp, they were a third division village club as recently as 2006, before two successive promotions and a charge to the top of the Bundesliga, exhibiting a devastating counter-attacking style of play. They established themselves as a mid-table outfit under Ralf Rangnick, who masterminded Hoffenheim’s progress to the top flight and signed Sigurdsson during his time in charge. His departure and subsequent appointment of St Pauli’s Holger Stanislawski resulted in Sigurdsson losing his place in the side, despite an impressive first season with the club.
Sigurdsson was crowned Hoffenheim’s fans player of the year for the 2010-11 campaign, after winning the same award at Reading in the preceding season, despite starting only 13 games. He scored 10 goals and provided two assists for Hoffenheim before sustaining a knee injury on international duty, which resulted in him missing out on pre-season. He appeared regularly at the start of the current season before losing his place at the end of October, featuring only once more before departing for Swansea.
Like fellow Hoffenheim export Demba Ba, Sigurdsson has been a Premier League revelation and his future remains uncertain. Stanislawski has since been fired and replaced by former German international Markus Babbel, who has been in touch. Rodgers will be keen to hold on to Sigurdsson, but his impressive contribution may place his price tag out of Swansea’s reach.
His immediate future consists of a tricky final nine games that feature the visit of Everton, Newcastle, Blackburn, Wolves and Liverpool, whilst travelling to Spurs, QPR, Bolton and Manchester United, all sides with something still to play for. Swansea are currently three points behind seventh placed Liverpool and only three points ahead of Stoke in 14th. They are also second in the Fair Play table, with the reward for finishing top being a Europa League place. The outcome of these games may prove to be the difference between a good season and a great season, they may also be instrumental in convincing Gylfi Sigurdsson to stay put.
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