When Tottenham Hotspur secured the signature of Lewis Holtby in January, many fans were excited about the impending arrival of the Germany international. Holtby had impressed for Bundesliga side FC Schalke 04 during his four years with the club, even more so in the number 10 role following the departure of Raul Gonzalez for Al Sadd last summer.
It was a position Spurs needed filling having, at times, failed to break down an opposition who often put Wmen behind the ball, the 0-0 draw with Queen's Park Rangers a prime example. This further stemmed from the lack of impact from midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson.
The Icelander arrived from Hoffenheim last summer after an eye catching six month loan spell with Swansea City last season, netting seven goals and adding a further three assists in 19 appearances. Following the departure of Rafael van der Vaart, a natural goalscoring threat from the midfield was a necessity.
Sigurdsson was supposedly the man to do this, but having been unable to endear himself to the supporters instantaneously, they were quick to jump on the players back, especially with the club going through somewhat of a tumultuous time following the appointment of Andre Villas-Boas and the slow start to the campaign.
An impressive showing in the 3-1 win over Reading in September was supposedly the game that would kick start his Spurs career, but it proved to be a false dawn for the 23-year-old; Clint Dempsey came in and, despite not overly impressing, was far more consistent and offered that physical threat pushing forward.
As a result, Sigurdsson was never really handed the opportunity to secure his place in the starting XI and, with Dempsey's eight goals and six further assists in all competitions, the young midfielder saw his chances limited further.
However, in the sporadic appearances made over recent weeks, Sigurdsson has looked impressive. Granted, a majority of those have come from the bench, but in the 3-2 win over West Ham United; his introduction in the 56th minute swung the game back Spurs' favour.
Until that point, Villas-Boas' side had appeared cumbersome and lackadaisical pushing forward, and with Holtby marked out of the game, the creative spark was lacking. Making an instantaneous impact, forcing Jussi Jaaskelainen into a great early save before netting the vital equaliser in the 76th minute before Gareth Bale's screamer in the dying embers of the encounter.
Understandably, Villas-Boas persisted with Sigurdsson in the North London Derby and was duly rewarded with his decision after the midfielder threaded a perfectly weighted pass to Bale for the opener in the 2-1 win over Arsenal.
Against Inter Milan, he arguably churned out his finest performance in a Spurs shirt. Granted, the Nerazzurri have regressed considerably over recent seasons, turning from 2010 champions of Europe, to being left on the verge of being dumped out of the Europa League following the 3-0 defeat at White Hart Lane on Thursday night.
Andrea Stramaccioni's side have now won just two of their last 12 away games in all competitions and while they've been dealt their fair share of injuries - Diego Milito, Yuto Nagatomo, Walter Samuel and Matias Silvestre were all ruled out of the Europa League tie - it's vital that Spurs overcome any opposition put in front of them in their pursuit of landing their first piece of European silverware since 1984.
“Taxi For Inter!” was the chant that echoed around White Hart Lane late in the second half, a far cry from the “Taxi For Maicon!” a little over two years ago and at the forefront of that was Sigurdsson.
Setting up Bale for the opener before adding the second from close range following Samir Handanovic's parry of Jermain Defoe's initial effort ensured he exited the field to a standing ovation 20 minutes from time, with Tottenham Journal writer Ben Pearce awarding him a 10 out of 10 for his performance in his post match ratings.
Covering for Bale, who regularly drifts infield to occupy a central position and one that Sigurdsson would usually operate in, it was no surprise to see the first goal come from a cross from the left. More often than not, any player shifted out to the wing in a role they're unfamiliar with would see there performance levels drop, but the switch in position has seen the Iceland international adapt to his new role, much like many have done under Villas-Boas.
Much has been made of the impact Bale has made since the turn of the year, but with the need for the Portuguese tactician to utilise to depth of his squad in the business end of the season, Sigurdsson could well be vital to Spurs securing a top four finish this season.
Bale himself was vital to the club attaining a Champions League place in the 2009/10 season, with Aaron Lennon then ruled out for much of the season, the Welshman was pivotal in stepping out of the shadow in the run in to the end of the campaign and now is being spoken of in the same breath as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
While it's highly unlikely that Sigurdsson will reach the same level as the aforementioned trio, the midfielder can become a vital member of the Spurs side in the run in to the end of the season and with at least 11 games remaining between now and May, could play a pivotal role in the club adding the Europa League to its trophy cabinet and a place in next years Champions League.