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Mauricio Pochettino thinks Spurs’ sale of Gylfi Sigurdsson “a shame”

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Sigurdsson was sold one month after Pochettino arrived at Spurs, and the manager expressed regret that he never had a chance to evaluate him.

Swansea City v Watford - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur host Swansea City on Saturday in a match that will see them go up against former Spurs player Gylfi Sigurdsson. In a pre-match press conference, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino expressed admiration for the Icelandic attacking midfielder and said that he wished he could’ve kept Gylfi around at White Hart Lane for longer.

"When we arrived at Tottenham, he was a player that was difficult to assess. The decision was made when we were in Seattle to play a friendly game. I remember he was in the starting XI and I had a call to say: 'OK, the agreement is done with Swansea.'

"In that moment we had 34 senior players, and to take the decision was too difficult because we did not have enough time. I think after he moved to Swansea and we saw his development at Swansea he was a perfect player for us."

Gylfi was one of the more popular players at the club at the end of the AVB and Tim Sherwood era. At Spurs from 2012-14, he wasn’t the most prolific of scorers, only netting eight goals in 58 appearances, but he was a dynamic option in the forward attacking band and fans loved him. Since moving to Swansea, Sigurdsson has been on an offensive tear, scoring 22 goals in 81 appearances for the Swans, making him one of the best players on a not very good Swansea side.

At the time, it seemed to make sense for Sigurdsson to make way for “Pochettino-style” players, and he was sold to Swansea in a deal that brought Michel Vorm and Ben Davies to Tottenham for a total of £3m. With Christian Eriksen ensconced in the starting 11 and Paulinho still kicking around, Gylfi was probably destined to play a substitute role, and he always did seem like the kind of player that would do better as a bigger fish in a slightly smaller pond.

Pochettino’s comments however suggest that he never really had the time to fully evaluate Sigurdsson with the sale happening a month after he arrived at White Hart Lane, and that he really might have been a Pochettino-style player. It was suggested that the transfer was undertaken by former Director of Football Franco Baldini and that Pochettino didn’t have much of a say in the matter.

“When the club and a player decide to move, there is nothing you can do about that. Every time we meet him and see him he shows his quality not only as a player but as a man.

“All the people here talk very highly about him. It's a shame, but sometimes in football you never what will happen in the future."

This is bound to lead to transfer stories and rumors that Spurs are going to try and buy back Gylfi in the January transfer window. I kind of doubt that’s the case here. Gylfi’s having a great season with five goals and four assists so far, but this strikes me more as Pochettino expressing admiration for a former Spurs player and not declaring intent. When healthy, Spurs are still pretty loaded in the attacking midfield position, and at 27, Gylfi’s no longer a spring chicken. That said, it’s interesting to think about what might have been had Sigurdsson stayed at White Hart Lane.