Gylfi Sigurdsson has scored seven goals and assisted ten times for Swansea this season. It's enough statistical fodder for Gary Lineker to playfully mock Spurs for selling the midfielder when he commented on Twitter that he's 'the sort of player a side like Spurs could be interested in signing'. Is he right?
It's easy to suggest this with hindsight. We've seen solid Premier League players sign for Tottenham that were pivotal for their former club but ineffectual at White Hart Lane. Clint Dempsey being the prime example. There was a player that was dominant for Fulham, key to their charge forward, aiding with transition of play from midfield to attack. At Spurs, for the most part, he was a misfit. He scored ugly and necessary goals but struggled to raise his game and slot into the side with comfort.
That's not to say he wasn't a good player. He just wasn't the right player for us. The normal analysis would reference the cliché about how Dempsey was only as rated because he was better than most at Fulham, meaning he was able to galvanise with comparative ease. He did not have the same stature at Spurs. There is probably an element of truth in this but the issue goes deeper.
Spurs have a tendency to sign good players for the squad based on their form for the club we've plucked them from but are not signed with astute confidence they'll have a certifiable role with us. We wanted João Moutinho and his finesse to playmake from the centre of the field. We ended up with the more robust determination of Dempsey and it didn't work.
The same can be said of Sigurdsson. We never let him settle in the single position. He was shifted around, used erratically. The cliché might apply for him too. He can assert his influence if allowed. The culture at Tottenham simply never appeased this.
We've been spoilt with the likes of Luka Modric, Rafa van der Vaart, Gareth Bale. We've always had a core of footballers that gave us that extra special something. A spine of vision, ability and class. Siggy was never on the level of the aforementioned and because of the expectancy of the supporters and our flawed transfer policy we are neither forgiving or patient enough to allow the understated to take centre stage.
Maybe that's changing. We've accepted the promotion of youth players from our academy. Harry Kane the poster boy for surprise. We've also being hurt by the disappointment of our more expensive imports. Sigurdsson lacks pace but makes up for it in another ways. He's successful at Swansea because they know how to facilitate him. In the past few seasons that's one trait we've lacked in desperation.
This summer will be interesting as marquee signings are unlikely (and out of reach). We might see the arrival of other Siggy type players. Not quite upper tier but players that fit in and are more than just bench filler.
As for Lineker? We've got Christian Eriksen and if we can't get consistency out of him, Sigurdsson would forever struggle at a club like Spurs.