When Ben Davies traded South Wales for North London this summer, it paved the way for former Swansea City loanee Gylfi Sigurdsson to head in the opposite direction in an attempt to reinvigorate his career.
Back in 2012 during his first spell at Swansea under then manager Brendan Rogers, Sigurdsson proved a revelation, helping them to an impressive 11th-placed finish in their first season back in England’s top tier.
His 18 appearances for Swansea yielded seven goals and five assists, leaving him behind only Danny Graham as the club’s top scorer, despite only signing in January. During that period at the Liberty Stadium his influence can be measured in the average number of goals plus assists that he provided, which came at a rate of 0.7 per appearance.
Such was his impact at Swansea that when the Iceland international’s permanent switch failed to materialise, Andre Villas-Boas made him his first signing at Tottenham.
Even though he made 58 appearances for Spurs over his two seasons at White Hart Lane, over half of these (32) came from the substitutes’ bench. Although consistent over his two years in London, he failed to nail down a spot in Tottenham’s overstocked midfield, and as a result his impact dropped significantly, slipping to a mere 0.2 goals plus assists per appearance.
Spurs’ interest in Ben Davies this summer and Garry Monk’s desire to find a replacement for Swansea’s departing No 10, Michu, set the wheels in motion to bring Sigurdsson back to South Wales with unfinished business to take care of.
And take care of it he has. He was chief antagonist in Louis van Gaal’s first game in charge of Manchester United, creating Swansea’s opening goal for Ki Sung-yueng and scoring the winner himself. Since his return to South Wales Sigurdsson has thrived, delivering a goal and four assists for a combined rate of 1.7 per appearance.
Along with Chelsea, whom they meet this weekend, the Swans are the only team in the Premier League with a 100 per cent record, with three wins from three games. Whichever of these records end on Saturday, with Sigurdsson in their ranks Swansea look capable of avoiding a relegation battle many expected.
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