What Spurs Signing Holtby Means For Sigurdsson

Tottenham announced the permanent arrival of Holtby on Monday and while it's a good move from a fans perspective, the club's Icelandic midfielder must be pondering where his future lays following the German's arrival.
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Tottenham announced the permanent arrival of Holtby on Monday and while it's a good move from a fans perspective, the club's Icelandic midfielder must be pondering where his future lays following the German's arrival.


I was sat in the offices of FourFourTwo, discussing the validity of a magic crab in 'Simply Irresistible' when the story broke on Sky Sports News - 'Tottenham Hotspur secure the signing of Lewis Holtby on a pre-contract' read the yellow ticker along the foot of the screen.

With it, the cooking exploits of Sarah Michelle Gellar and Lawrence Gillard Jnr. - better known as D'Angelo Barksdale in the Wire - became irrelevant. Twitter all but imploded in an array of 140 characterised madness, much like it does when football headline making news trickles it's way down to the masses.

The FC Schalke 04 youngster had been courted by a number of Europe's heavyweights, with Arsenal and Bayern Munich supposedly keen, only to be beaten to the punch by little old Tottenham Hotspur and their “Insanely good coach” - Lewis' words, not mine - Andre Villas-Boas.

24 days after the deal was confirmed, Spurs went the whole nine yards and brought the 22-year-old to White Hart Lane for a reported £1.25m - a steal at that price. Fans begun salivating at the mouth of the prospect of Holtby arriving sooner than expected following his performance during Schalke's 5-4 win over Hannover earlier this month, the midfielder key in the win after helping himself to two assists and a goal.

“Sign him up now, Levy” cried the supporters, desperate to see their new signing arrive in January, not have to wait until the summer. And can you really blame them? Since Rafael van der Vaart made his triumphant return to Hamburg back in August, Spurs have been crying out for a number 10.

Gylfi Sigurdsson and Clint Dempsey were signed to cover the loss of the mercurial Dutchman from Hoffenheim and Fulham, respectively, but neither have ultimately replicated the threat the 29-year-old continuously offered during his two years in north London.

Granted, the latter has begun to find his feet at White Hart Lane after initially struggling to adjust to his new surroundings, but the former, it has to be said, has ultimately flopped following his £7m switch.

After netting seven times in 19 appearances for Swansea City during his six month loan stint, many had tipped Sigurdsson to press on and comfortably fill the void that Van der Vaart left. It wasn't to be for the Icelander, who has at times looked out of his depth in the team, much like Steven Pienaar during his 12 months with Spurs.

There are those that argue that he may not have been given a fair run in the first team, but 29 appearances, many of which are from the bench, with a return of only two goals and four assists isn't at all a good record for a player that is famed for his goal-getting capabilities.


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When compared to Dempsey and his eight goals and six assists in 28 games for the club, coupled with his compatibility with Jermain Defoe, and it's no surprise that Sigurdsson is regularly found on the peripherals of the starting XI.

With Holtby now arriving sooner than expected, it only adds to the competition for that starting role behind the striker, of which it's fair to say he's now third in the pecking order of. The Germany international also boasts a more impressive record than his new teammate, having played 27 times in all competitions for Schalke, netting four and assisting 11 in 27 games for the Bunesliga side.

Such stats are exactly what a designated number 10 should be offering, which is made all the more impressive considering it's his debut year in the role. Often performing deeper in the Schalke midfield prior to Raul's departure to Al Sadd back in May, Holtby has excelled when pushed further forward.

Playing in a attacking trio consisting of Julian Draxler and Jefferson Farfan, it was no surprise the creatively gifted midfielder blossomed. If he is operated as expected - behind the striker be it Defoe or Emmanuel Adebayor - then Spurs fans will see the best of Holtby, especially when performing alongside Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon.

The thought of the trio buzzing across the opposition attacking third is enough to bring any Spurs fan to their knees with excitement. And this is exactly the role Sigurdsson should've been operating following his arrival in July.

Bale and Lennon are undoubtedly going to be drifting across the front-line to find pockets of space, the former especially, but the former Reading trainee failed to really adjust to the new system under Villas-Boas, sadly.

The Gylf has the talent to succeed in the Premier League, that's evident, but at Tottenham it just doesn't seem to be the case. He won't be the last player to, somewhat, fail following a move to White Hart Lane - heck, Holtby could turn out to be a monumental flop.

Yet, a lack of confidence, coupled with Dempsey and his new German teammate means he's rarely going to feature and, like I have previously mentioned, turn out to be more of a David Bentley signing than anything else.

A move away from the club beckons for Sigurdsson, be it a short term loan move before the close of the window or a permanent transfer in the summer, but one can certainly presume that his Spurs future is looking bleaker than previously envisioned following Spurs' latest acquisition.