Friday, 15 November 2013

Player for January? Johan Gudmundsson

With only a few weeks to go before the transfer window re-opens I have been starting to think about potential targets.  Assuming nobody major leaves in January they only real addition I'd like to see is a left footed winger (jury's still out on Lamah).

Also at least 1 and sometimes both of the starting wingers are usually substituted each match so an extra body in this area may be useful if we progress into the knockout stages of the Europa League (which could be anywhere from an extra 2 to 9 games).

Having someone wide who is a left footer could work well across both sides, either playing on the right and being able to cut inside and shoot or playing on the left and then being able to cross more easily with their natural foot.  The way Wayne Routledge beats a man down the left and then crosses with his right foot shows great technique but does mean he has to fully go past the defender to allow himself the space to use his right.

With this in mind it was interesting to read a piece in the Guardian yesterday about some players who could be potential transfer targets who were playing in the internationals over the next few days.  The one that caught my eye was for Johan Berg Gudmundsson which contained the following:

Johann Berg Gudmundsson (23, winger, AZ Alkmaar – Iceland)

One of several Icelandic talents who have recently emerged from Dutch football to form something of a "golden generation" for their country. Just two games short of a maiden World Cup finals participation, the left-footed wide forward – equally effective on either flank – has proved decisive for his country throughout the campaign. In particular his stunning second-half hat-trick against Switzerland unsurprisingly did not go unnoticed. Gudmundsson's contract expires next summer and the January window may represent the final chance of a payday for his title-chasing club side.
Likely fit for: A mid-table Premier League team with a limited budget keen on a versatile impact forward with resale potential.
Transfer value: £2-3m
I'm not saying that description alone should be enough for Huw to get the chequebook out but it certainly at face value at least ticks a lot of boxes.
A quick bit of research (i.e., Youtube and Wikipedia) suggest that previous seasons goals have been fairly rare but he's had a recent rich vein of form.  As always the question is does recent form show a improvement in performance that can be sustained or is it just a blip?
Senior career (league)
National team
2008Iceland U192(1)
2008–2011Iceland U2114(6)
Looking at those stats don't suggest a goal machine (but then neither are Dyer/Routledge/Lamah, Pablo arguably does have goals in him but obviously fitness this season has been an issue.  I was also surprised given Pablo's 'sicknote' reputation that he played in 30 league games last season despite not joining until the end of August).

3 of Gudmundsson's 4 international goals came against Switzerland in September and he's already got 2 goals in 13 league games and 4 goals in 6 Europa League matches this season.

As mentioned above at a superficial level, sounds like a good fit, young, left footed and potentially quite cheap.  That of course may change over the next few days due to the play-off with Croatia, a couple of big performances could end up adding a fair bit to any asking price.

Links to Player Stats:
Squawka Stats

Selection of his goals over last couple of years

Screamer vs. Den Haag from a couple of weeks ago