Iceman looking forward to catching up
WHEN Tottenham midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson last scored at White Hart Lane, it was for Swansea City.
His goal in a 3-1 defeat for the Swans in April was the sixth of seven Premier League strikes the Icelander claimed during a sparkling loan spell in South Wales last season.
Sigurdsson's time at the Liberty prompted Swansea to offer Hoffenheim a club record £6.8 million to sign the 23-year- old permanently but, when the Swans' then-manager Brendan Rodgers left for Liverpool, the transfer fell through.
A lengthy queue was beginning to form for Sigurdsson's signature and, although Rodgers was keen to take the playmaker with him to Anfield, Tottenham jumped to the front of the line with an irresistible offer.
Sigurdsson had initially hoped to stay with the Swans but, having since made 21 appearances for Spurs and sampled European football for the first time, the sense of what might have been has subsided.
"It's been great. It's been good to be a part of a team that's playing in so many competitions," Sigurdsson says.
"Playing in Europe is something new for me. It's what I've always wanted to do.
"The Europa League has been really good and, hopefully we can push on and qualify for the Champions League."
Even Swansea supporters might find it difficult to begrudge Sigurdsson this opportunity. The 14-cap Iceland international had already seen one big-money move end badly, after he struggled to settle at Hoffenheim following a £6.5 million transfer from Reading.
Sigurdsson saw Spurs as the ideal chance to try to prove his worth at a leading European club and, although he opted not to stay at the Liberty, he is still a keen follower of the Swans.
"I always look out for their results as soon as my match with Tottenham is finished," he says.
"They've been fantastic this season. They've bought some good players and played some really good football.
"Considering they've got a new manager and a lot of new players, I think they've done really well. I think Michael Laudrup has done a really good job at Swansea. He's got them playing some nice football and they've had some great results.
"They play a bit differently from when I was there, but it's still very similar in the way they keep the ball and pass it around."
He will face his former Swansea team-mates for the first time on Sunday, as Tottenham search for a fifth win from six fixtures. Under Laudrup, the Swans have evolved into a more direct, attacking side than they were with Rodgers at the helm.
But with a similar emphasis on ball retention and a fluid passing approach, they are unlikely to hold many surprises for Sigurdsson.
One of his Spurs team-mates, centre-back Steven Caulker, will also be well acquainted with the visitors at White Hart Lane, having excelled during a season-long loan with Swansea last term.
"There are still a lot of players there from last season, and I'm looking forward to seeing them," Sigurdsson says. "Steven Caulker's with me at Spurs, so he'll be looking forward to seeing them too.
"We haven't told the boys any secrets — I think most of them know what Swansea are all about."
Sigurdsson will certainly have a good idea of how Swansea will approach the game. The elegant midfield orchestrator played a pivotal role in their 11th-place Premier League finish last season and, as he prepares to put a dent in the Swans' strong start to this term, he foresees another landmark campaign for the club.
"I think they will finish in the top half," Sigurdsson says.
"I know their aim is to stay in the league again but, with the ambition and the talent in that squad, I think they can do even better than last season."