Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City have confirmed a swap deal that will see midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson leave White Hart Lane and head to the Liberty Stadium in exchange for Michel Vorm, Ben Davies and an undisclosed fee.
The deal has Davies joining Spurs on a five-year contract and Vorm penning a four-year deal while Sigurdsson returns to the Welsh club where he spent time on loan in 2012 on a four-year contract.
The 21-year-old Davies broke into the Swansea first team in 2012 and enjoyed an immediate impact, winning their Young Player of the Year accolade the past two seasons. In 2012/13 he made 44 appearances for the Swans and helped the club lift their first major trophy, the Capital One Cup. Last season he retained that strong form scoring twice in 34 league appearances as the Swans finished 12th in the top-flight. At Spurs, Davies is expected to secure the left-back spot, a position that proved to be Tottenham’s achilles heel during last year’s troublesome season.
Vorm arrives in North London after three seasons with the Swans during which time he celebrated the Capital One Cup title while picking up Supporters’ Player of the Year, Players’ Player and the Away Player awards along the way. All in all he made 97 appearances for Swansea. Vorm’s decision to accept the transfer is a curious one, after Arsenal backup Lukasz Fabianski signed with the squad earlier this season, intent on finding first team action. Instead of competing with Fabianski, Vorm has decided to leave the club in favor of competing with Lloris. Vorm, who was in Holland’s World Cup squad this summer, will prove a vital deputy to Lloris and could challenge the Frenchman should he find form and avoid injury.
Sigurdsson, who scored seven goals in an 18 match loan spell with Swansea in 2011/12, returns at the Liberty after two seasons at Spurs where he scored eight goals in 58 league appearances. Despite the output, Sigurdsson never established himself as a starter at White Hart Lane but did manage to score some fantastic goals off the bench. Spurs will miss that super-sub factor but, under Gary Monk, Sigurdsson finds himself in the promising position of becoming an everyday starters although it won’t come easy as the Swans already boast a talented midfield that includes Jonathan De Guzman, Ki Sung-Yeung, Jonjo Shelvey, Nathan Dyer, Wayne Routledge, Leon Britton, Jose Canas and Pablo Hernandez.
Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.
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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”
Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:
“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.
“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.
Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.
[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]
Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.
Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)
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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.
That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.
One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.
[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]
Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.
Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.