By Alan Myers & Dave Downie
After one of the most long, draw out transfer sagas in recent memory, yesterday Gylfi Sigurdsson was finally confirmed as an Everton player for a club record fee that could eventually rise to £45 million.
Naturally, almost everything there is to know about midfielder has been written and rewritten by eager Evertonians this summer. However, something that has yet to be spoken about in great detail is Sigurdsson’s background before he thrust himself under the Premier League spotlight.
The picture above has also led to plenty of curious Blues, ourselves included, wondering why the 28-year-old would be randomly stood outside Goodison as a youngster back in 2001.
Alan Myers has been investigating our latest signing’s origins, which led him to stumble upon Icelandic teacher Leifur Gardarsson who coached a young Gylfi Sigurdsson around the time the picture was taken and the man who recommended him to Everton more than a decade ago.
AM: Obvious question to start with, but did Gylfi always show the promise that would one day make him a star in the Premier League?
LG: Gylfi has always been a hard working, honest lad, with great ambition and desire to do well.
AM: He seems to be a model professional – kept himself to himself throughout the whole transfer saga, is he a lot more vocal in the dressing room and on the pitch?
LG: Gylfi really is a down to earth kind of guy. I think you will not find him running around the dressing room shouting before games or at half time. But having said that is always ready with advice to his teammates. He’s a great professional that takes great care of himself to do well and improve.
AM: What is he like as a person? Do you have any fun stories of working with him as young lad?
LG: I really did not work that much with him on the training pich, but since he played with my local team FH Hafnarfjordur I knew about his progress. It was obvious in the beginning he was special but the hard work he has always put in has really made him the player he is today. Its not just about the talent but also nurturing the talent. So at an early age I recommended him to my good friend Ray Hall, then Academy Director of Everton, to bring Gylfi over.
AM: He is renowned for his set piece taking, was that something he worked on at an early age? It’s going to be a key attribute for Everton this season.
LG: He always stays longer on the training pitch practising free kicks, corners and penalty kicks. Of course there was talent in the beginning but the time he has spent on those attributes in training have made him so deadly. It’s a big weapon to have and Everton can only benefit.
AM: What has the reaction been like in Iceland to him moving to Everton – will we see a lot of Icelandic Evertonians in the near future?
LG: For sure the interest in Everton will grow in Iceland. Already people are ordering Everton strips with his name and 18 on the back.
AM: It didn’t quite work out for him at Spurs, do you think he feels he has a point to prove playing for one of the Premier League’s bigger clubs after his experience with them?
LG: In my opinion Gylfi has nothing to prove, he has done it already.
AM: He worked fantastically well with Llorente at Swansea last season, providing a lot of crosses for him. Does he work better with a target man up front to link with – it seems Everton are looking for that kind of player as well?
LG: Since Gylfi is a great set piece specialist the target strikers can only benefit. Therefore it would be handy for Everton to have a good target striker up front.
AM: One of the top runners in the league last season for distance covered, attacking players aren’t always known for their work rate so how much will that help Ronald Koeman as he loves to have his players press from the front?
LG: Gylfi does so much work when his team is defending, he works very hard for the team and sets a great example to his team mates. So it will for sure help the Everton side known for hard working players to an honest player like Gylfi in the side.
AM: He’s played in a variety of attacking positions over the years, where would you say he works best and if you’ve seen Everton lately, how would that work for them?
LG: For sure Gylfi will be part of a three man line behind the front player. Usually he stays out left to drift inside opening up for the shot or the cross. I can see him form a great partnership with Wayne Rooney because of there mutual game understanding and I can also see Leighton Baines form an understanding with Gylfi going down the channel.
AM: A lot is made of the price tags in football these days, does it surprise you that he’s ended up costing so much for Everton to get him?
LG: Not really – for me this is a bargain for Everton. Just look at his stats. His stats are up with the best in the Premiership and the best players cost a lot of money these days.