Gylfi Sigurdsson says that he made the right decision to push through his transfer to Tottenham Hotspur rather than Liverpool last summer, even though it was a difficult moment when he had to inform Brendan Rodgers of the news.
Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, had worked with Sigurdsson at Reading and Swansea City, and he had agreed a deal to turn the midfielder's loan from Hoffenheim in the second half of last season into a permanent switch to the Liberty Stadium. Rodgers then left Swansea for Liverpool and he offered Sigurdsson the same personal terms to join him at Anfield.
Tottenham stepped in to tempt Sigurdsson to White Hart Lane and, ahead of the club's Premier League visit to Liverpool on Sunday, he was optimistic that he was primed to achieve his ambition of Champions League football with them. Tottenham are third in the table, seven points clear of Arsenal in fifth. Liverpool sit seventh.
"It was not so much me turning my back on Liverpool as having the option to join two great clubs," Sigurdsson said.
"There was a lot going on here at Tottenham with the new training ground and the plans for another stadium. Tottenham finished fourth last season and were unlucky not to be in the Champions League, and we are pushing to get there again. It was clear this was the club I wanted to be at.
"The players here are unbelievable – Gareth Bale is one of the best in the world at the moment – and it's no surprise that we are doing so well in the league while nights like Thursday, beating Internazionale 3-0 at home [in the Europa League], show I made the right choice.
"You ask any player and the Champions League is where he wants to be. Hopefully, we will get there but that was obviously one of the reasons for joining Tottenham rather than Liverpool."
Sigurdsson has slightly uncomfortable memories of the telephone call that he then had to make to Rodgers. "I owe him a lot for giving me an opportunity at Reading and then for giving me my first chance in the Premier League with Swansea," Sigurdsson said. "It was really hard to tell him I didn't want to play for him this time but it will be really good to see him on Sunday."