Everton are testing Swansea’s resolve with a second bid of £40million plus add-ons for Gylfi Sigurdsson – but the BBC report that the Swans have knocked it back.
The Iceland international has missed his side’s pre-season tour of America and has instead been training with the under-23’s after telling Paul Clement he was not in the right frame of mind to play.
His stance puts his current club in a difficult position, while Everton must now weigh up whether they can justify spending the £50m that Swansea are demanding.
Sigurdsson scored nine goals last season to help keep his team up and is widely considered to be one of the best set piece takers in English football.
The myth is that scoring free-kicks is all he has to offer. The playmaker has been criminally underrated since his time at Tottenham, where he struggled for regular game time – but he was competing against the likes of Gareth Bale for a spot in the starting XI.
Everton need a player who can create going forward, especially with Ross Barkley entering the final year of his contract.
Wayne Rooney is one option who can play behind the striker and he has been back to his electrifying best in pre-season. There are no guarantees that the former Manchester United man can produce that form consistently, though, and if £50m if what it takes to bring in a fitter, more energetic attacking midfielder, Ronald Koeman will have to seriously consider paying it.
The market has been inflating for some years, though it seems to have taken a sudden leap this summer. To put the Sigurdsson deal in perspective, Manchester City have spent £50m on Kyle Walker, who is not even guaranteed to be their first choice following the signing of right-back Danilo from Real Madrid.
The major question for the Toffees is this: is Sigurdsson enough of a game changer to be worth breaking their record fee? It’s a signing that is bound to divide fans if it does go ahead, but the 27-year-old undoubtedly has the potential to shine at Goodison Park.