Destination unknown for Sigurdsson family as in-demand Gylfi plots his next move
Sunday 01 July 2012
Gylfi Sigurdsson will decide whether he signs for Liverpool or Tottenham Hotspur today, according to his father Sigurdur Adalsteinsson. The Hoffenheim midfielder has been the subject of one of the most-talked-about transfers this summer.
Swansea City and Reading as well as German giants Bayern Munich have also expressed their interest in the £8million-rated star, who came from nowhere to light up the Premier League during his six-month loan spell at the Liberty Stadium.
But the 22-year-old Iceland international's decision on where his long-term future lies appears to have whittled down to a straight choice between being reunited with ex-Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers at Anfield or joining managerless Tottenham, who are expected to name Andre Villas-Boas as their new man in charge to replace Harry Redknapp this week.
"Gylfi wants to play at the highest level possible – every player wants to do that – but the opportunity has to be right," Adalsteinsson says.
"It always helps when you know the coach like Brendan Rodgers. He is a very good trainer. But does that mean Liverpool? Maybe, maybe not. He is thinking what is best to do and will have a decision by Sunday."
His father always believed his youngest son – his oldest Olafur was a pro golfer – who was born in the port town of Hafnarfjordur 10km south of Reykjavik could make the grade in England's top flight.
The reason? Not just his passing ability, but his specialist free-kicks and great long-range shooting prowess.
Adalsteinsson adds "I am not surprised some of the top clubs in Europe are after Gylfi. I have always believed in him ever since we started the journey from Iceland to Reading."
"He sees passes others don't see. He's like a Spanish player such as Xavi, Iniesta or Fabregas. He tries to pass the ball and has very good delivery and shooting ability.
"But I knew from when he was the age of eight what a good footballer he would become. That's why I moved him and the whole family to England."
Sigurdsson arrived at Reading on trial in 2005 with a mission to follow in the footsteps of fellow Icelandic stars Ivar Ingimarsson and Brynjar Gunnarsson.
Steve Coppell's scouting team was then headed by none other than Brian McDermott. Four years later, and by coincidence, the now Royals chief had the chance to work with Sigurdsson in the first team after Rodgers was sacked just six months into the job.
Sigurdsson, who had undertaken loan spells at Shrewsbury Town and Crewe Alexandra, took off, scoring 21 goals in 44 games that season as Reading reached the FA Cup quarter-finals and narrowly missed out on the Championship play-offs.
By the end of the season he was voted the club's player of the season, but then Hoffenheim called in August 2010 and offered Reading a fee in the region of £6.5million.
After a good start in Germany, scoring ten goals in just 13 starts, injury curtailed his first season in the Bundesliga. In truth, he found it hard to get back into the starting team until Rodgers called to set up his loan move to Wales in January, where he didn't look back with seven goals in 18 appearances for the Swans.
"People say Gylfi did well at Swansea and it was a good move for him," Adalsteinsson says. "He thinks very highly of the club, but he didn't agree any terms so he hasn't broken any promises there.
So when Sigurdsson decides to go to Liverpool or London in the next 24 hours, the one certainty is whoever his new club is will gain the real deal when it comes to an attacking goal threat from midfield.
Norwich have signed the Scotland defender Steven Whittaker on a four-year deal, subject to international clearance. The 28-year-old rejected the transfer of his contract to "newco" Rangers and becomes new manager Chris Hughton's first signing.
Reading have agreed personal terms with Russia striker Pavel Pogrebnyak and are awaiting a work permit. The 28-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at Fulham from Stuttgart, netting six goals in 12 appearances, but rejected the offer of a permanent deal.
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