Tottenham Hotspur: 8 Bold Predictions for Gylfi Sigurdsson Next Season
Leave it to the Brits to steal some of America's thunder on July 4.
Thunder or no thunder, Tottenham fans won't care as new boss Andre Villas-Boas made his first move as Spurs manager, luring Gylfi Sigurdsson away from Liverpool and manager Brendan Rodgers.
According to The Telegraph, Villas-Boas signed the Icelandic international for £8 million. Not only that, but he lured Sigurdsson away from a manager in Rodgers who brought the 22-year-old to the Premier League in the first place.
With an £8 million price tag, there will certainly be some expectations put on Sigurdsson.
How will he do with a better supporting cast around him? Can he be effective in positions other than attacking midfielder? If Spurs don't sign a marquee striker, can he fill some of that void?
Why not take a stab at starting to provide some of the answers now?
That said, I give you the boldest predictions for Gylfi Sigurdsson next season this side of Reykjavik.
He'll Improve Upon His 7 Goals from Last Season
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Let's start with an easy one.
The first half of last season, Sigurdsson spent time with Bundesliga club Hoffenheim, who really didn't have a place for the Icelander, much less know what to do with him. He made seven appearances and did as much as he could despite playing with a club that wanted him gone.
Then Brendan Rodgers made an absolutely genius move and signed the struggling Sigurdsson to Swansea City. He made 18 appearances with the Premier League club and was twice the player he was at Hoffenheim, averaging 3.9 shots per match and scoring seven goals.
This season, he'll have a little more opportunity to score—the only forwards on Tottenham's roster right now is Jermain Defoe.
There's a lot of questions surrounding Defoe as to whether he's the long-term answer or not and I don't see them getting more than one marquee striker before next season.
...and Set a Career High in Assists
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To find Sigurdsson's personal best for assists, we'll have to go all the way back to the 2009-10 season when he was spending his time with then-Championship side Reading. It was then other clubs started to take notice as he scored 21 goals and collected eight assists in all competitions.
My prediction? The Icelander will collect a lot more than eight assists.
Nothing against Swansea City, but Tottenham boasts a roster that would have done much more with what Sigurdsson gave to his former team.
In 18 appearances with Swans, he served up 37 crosses that were turned into shots by teammates, but only three made it between the posts?
If Tottenham can keep Emmanuel Adebayor from going back to Manchester City, they'll have a gifted finisher who will triple that figure by himself.
Andre Villas-Boas Will Think Twice About His 4-3-3
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Personally, I can't wait for Villas-Boas to come to White Hart Lane. His brand of attacking football will fit nicely with a Spurs roster that, in my opinion, can play it and play it well.
That said, I think signing Sigurdsson reveals one thing about the former Chelsea man—he's willing to play around with his coveted 4-3-3.
As Bleacher Report's Allen Jiang pointed out, Villas-Boas used the standard 4-3-3 formation for 89 percent of Porto's games when he was with the Portuguese side.
But now Villas-Boas is coming to a team with a player in Rafael Van Der Vaart who's at his best in an attacking midfield role, and his first signing was a 22-year-old star in the making who shoots, passes and scores best in an attacking midfield role.
...and Experiment with the 4-3-2-1
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The only reason this is a bold prediction is that Villas-Boas is so hard-headed about his tactics, not because adding in two talented attacking midfielders to a 4-3-3 is all that radical.
It's hard to think this won't happen. Villas-Boas has at his disposal two solid players who play at their best between midfield and forward.
First is Rafael Van Der Vaart, who scored nine goals in 19 appearances of which he started in an attacking midfield role last year.
Next is Gylfi Sigurdsson, who scored seven goals in 18 appearances of which he started in an attacking midfield role last year.
Besides, as I said before the only forwards on the team now are Jermain Defoe and Louis Saha, reserves in my opinion that are best suited to come off the bench in the final third of matches.
He'll Begin the Season in the Starting XI
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According to The Telegraph, Sigurdsson wasn't just the first signing for Villas-Boas as Tottenham's new manager, he was also an £8 million signing.
You don't just throw down that kind of cash for a player who's going to make an appearance every other fixture.
Sigurdsson has a real opportunity in the next two months to show himself worthy of a starting spot and a shift in the mind of Villas-Boas as far as the 4-3-3 goes. I predict he'll do it and that it'll pay off big time for Spurs.
...and Score Before September
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Not only will Sigurdsson start in both of these matches, but he'll score.
Newcastle's defensive-midfielder Yohan Cabaye will be the one matched up against Sigurdsson and he had a dreadful time against Tottenham last season.
In Spurs' early-season draw with the Baggies, Cabaye struggled when matched up against Luka Modric and had to commit a half-dozen fouls just to keep things level between them. Even then, the left side of Tottenham's attack, led by the attacking midfielder Modric, put the hurt on Newcastle.
Then, without Cabaye, things got absolutely crazy for Newcastle and Tottenham scored a season-high five goals in a 5-0 blowout win.
West Bromwich Albion wasn't as bad as they "only" let in four goals in the two matches when they faced Spurs last season. But their defense let in an average of 1.4 goals per match.
If not for a late-season surge where they conceded just five goals in five matches, that number would be a lot higher.
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These are bold predictions, right?
If Villas-Boas puts Sigurdsson and Van Der Vaart in as attacking midfielders and toys around with the idea of a 4-3-2-1 formation, I don't think Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion are going to know what to do tactically to stop it.
Besides, the first matches of the season always provide unorthodox results from unlikely players. I'm just predicting that Lady Luck smiles upon Sigurdsson rather than any of the other 10 Spurs players on the pitch.
Rafael Van Der Vaart Will Transfer in January
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He's got two years left on the €11 million contract he signed back in 2010, but I think Sigurdsson's play the first half of the season (and the reluctance of Villas-Boas to put two attacking midfielders into his standard formation) will lead Tottenham to try and recoup some of their losses and sell an unnecessary Van Der Vaart in January.
The Dutchman will be given a chance to play at Spurs, but it'll probably be out wide. Van Der Vaart likes to play behind the striker and he'll start complaining before Halloween.
Villas-Boas, who is deathly afraid (and rightly so!) of anything even resembling a player revolt, will send the once-proud midfielder packing.