As many of you know, I avidly follow the Russian Premier League and national team, who took on Gylfi Sigurðsson's Iceland last night. Much to my surprise, Gylfi lined up as the deep lying playmaker in Iceland's midfield and created by far the most dangerous chances for his side all night. His ability in a deeper role truly surprised me and he was the most effective Icelandic player on the pitch for the full 90 minutes.
Unfortunately for Gylfi, Iceland succumbed to their opponents 2-0 and went home empty handed, but a very important lesson can be learned from his performance; Gylfi can succeed outside of his preferred attacking midfield slot. Whilst his chances of earning consistent playing time either in a deeper position or behind the striker at Tottenham seem incredibly slim, his versatility allows him to threaten for places elsewhere on the pitch, as we have seen over the course of this season. Having filled in as a sub on both wings, the Icelandic midfielder has been incredibly unlucky this season, with notable near-misses against Everton, Stoke and Norwich. Nevertheless, his playing time has been severely limited and his development has slowed, but he still has time to turn things around.
Gylfi is still a very talented individual, and to write him off after only a few appearances, mostly off the bench, would be a terrible mistake. At only 23, Sigurðsson could very well go through something of a renaissance by trying out another position, and that is where his and Tottenham's needs overlap. Tottenham need a striker and Gylfi needs a new position. Now, before you laugh me out of here, let me explain why I think this would be a good idea. Gylfi is decently sized and a capable header of the ball, yet he is also excellent with the ball at his feet and has an excellent shot on him. Also, as the best set piece taker on the squad, some effort should be made to fit him into the starting XI so that Tottenham can add a new dimension to their attack and find extra ways to break down resilient defences.
I recognise that this may be an odd viewpoint to take, but I'd like to point out that my belief that Gylfi would make a good striker is quite removed from those who believe that Gareth Bale should be given a go up front. Firstly, Bale is first on the team sheet every week and does not need a shift in position to get playing time, whereas Sigurðsson is the complete opposite. He will probably see very little time on the pitch as Clint Dempsey and Lewis Holtby battle it out for the attacking midfield position for the rest of the season. Secondly, Sigurðsson could not possibly be worse than Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor have been in recent months. Our strikers have failed to score a goal in more than a month, yet we have not lost in that time, as we have been getting goals from other parts of the pitch. If Gylfi can come into the striker slot and score just a few times, results would improve, assuming those goals from Bale and other players keep on coming.
I'm not saying that Gylfi is our world-class striker signing and I still believe that Daniel Levy should splash money on a good striker in the summer, but for the time being, Gylfi is a solid and capable player who could do well on his own up front. Right now is one of the most important times in his development, so he needs playing time one way or another. Gylfi Sigurðsson is a player whose future is in flux, so now is the perfect time for him to reinvent himself and gain a place in Tottenham Hotspur's line-up, both now and for the future.