One of the Premier League's breakthrough players of the 2011-12 season was Swansea City's on-loan midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson.
The 22-year-old Icelandic attacking midfielder, who has returned to Bundesliga club Hoffenheim after a six-month loan spell at the Liberty Stadium, scored seven goals and added three assists in 19 games for the Swans, establishing himself as one of the League's premier midfield talents.
ESPNsoccernet reports that Swansea have agreed to a £6.8 million deal to sign Sigurdsson, but with Brendan Rodgers stepping in as Liverpool manager, Mirror Football says that the Reds may look to hijack the Swans' move to sign the youngster.
Here are four reasons why Liverpool's new Northern Irish manager needs to follow through with his move for Gylfi Sigurdsson.
A summer ago, Liverpool signed three midfield players in Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson. The summer before that, they signed four—Joe Cole, Raul Meireles, Christian Poulsen and Jonjo Shelvey—two of which aren't with the club anymore.
The club's midfield has been undergoing a major transformation in recent seasons, and Sigurdsson would be a part of that.
A midfield consisting of Alberto Aquilani, who is set to return to Anfield after the expiring of his loan deal at the San Siro, Steven Gerrard and Gylfi Sigurdsson would undoubtedly be one of the strongest in the Premier League, and would play a major role in helping Liverpool return to their former greatness.
Over the past few months, Liverpool have made some big-money signings that have, as of yet, not materialized (£35 million for Andy Carroll and £20 million for Stewart Downing come to mind). Fans are crying out for a bargain, and they could well find one in Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Considering he scored 0.37 goals a game this season as a 22-year-old first-year midfielder in the greatest league in the world, £6.2 million seems like a far-from-excessive price tag. Sigurdsson fits in with the club's transfer policy (young players with a high sell-on value) and is only going to improve.
No one in the Premier League last season made more strides than Gylfi Sigurdsson, and considering there is a good chance he takes further strides next year, £6.2 million would be excellent value.
Jordan Henderson is young and inexperienced. Charlie Adam has struggled. Steven Gerrard is just one man.
Liverpool fans will correctly argue that with just 47 goals in 38 games—good for 11th in the Premier League—the Reds' biggest need is adding quality up front.
That said, a major part of the club's failure to score has been the lack of creativity from midfield. Adding skill through the middle could help unleash Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez and make them the kind of goal scorers the team needs them to be.
Gylfi Sigurdsson made his name last season as a player who excels in the creative aspect of the game.
A set-piece specialist and dominant offensive force, Sigurdsson has the passing ability to unlock the likes of Carroll and Suarez, but can still hit the target from long range and be a threat on the ball.
Sigurdsson has the complete game, and his signing would solve any creativity problems Liverpool may have.
After his immensely successful spell at Liberty Stadium, The Independent reported that Brendan Rodgers was desperate to have his Icelandic star return, and played a major role in pushing through a deal for the 22-year-old.
Now, with Rodgers moving on to Anfield, Gylfi Sigurdsson could be tempted to scupper his move to Swansea to join Liverpool and take a step forward in his career with a coach he knows and respects.
The acquisition of Sigurdsson would undoubtedly make the transition to a big-name club a lot smoother for the new Reds manager. Having a player who was instrumental at his old club—and who would likely be instrumental at his new club—would allow Rodgers the luxury of adapting a somewhat similar style of play.
Gylfi Sigurdsson has a great relationship with manager Brendan Rodgers and bringing him to Anfield could be a key component to ensuring Rodgers' first season with the Merseyside club is a success.
Follow Jake Ware on Twitter at @JacobWare95