Swansea City defender Alfie Mawson thinks his former teammate Gylfi Sigurdsson deserved his move for Everton and is certain Paul Clement's side would have been relegated last season if not for the Icelandic international.
Sigurdsson, 27, was made to wait before completing his £45m move to Goodison Park last month and is set to make his home debut for Ronald Koeman's side on Saturday (9 August), when they host Tottenham at Goodison Park.
Everton had been pursuing a move for the former Spurs star for over 12 months and had to work hard in order to wrangle out of Swansea's grasp, but Mawson, who arrived at the Liberty Stadium from Barnsley last year, thinks the Reading academy graduate deserved to move to a side with "real ambition", rather than one purely focused on survival.
"He's a great guy, great player," Mawson told Sky Sports News, relayed by Sports Mole. "He was massive for us last year and you could argue that if he wasn't in the team, we would have been relegated. That obvious for everyone to see given the quality he possesses.
"He deserved his move, he deserves to play for a club who has real ambition this year and Everton are going to do good things. They are playing in the Europa League, he deserves that at least.
"He's a big asset for them, he was for us, but when we come up against him, we know the quality that he possesses and we are going to have to try to nullify that."
Sigurdsson is known to be consummate professional and conducts himself in an exemplary manner both on and off the field, but the same cannot be said about a few of his Everton teammates. Fellow playmaker Wayne Rooney was recently arrested for drink-driving, while Ross Barkley has dealt with speculation surrounding his future rather poorly.
Koeman is not impressed by the two boyhood Evertonians and is planning talks with the pair in order to try and resolve the very different issues they are experiencing, according to the Press Association.
Rooney has enjoyed a productive, positive start to his second spell with the Toffees but Koeman is expected to discipline England's leading goalscorer, who is due at Stoke Magistrates' Court on 18 September, just one day after Everton travel to face his old club Manchester United.
Koeman also wants to talk to Barkley about why he pulled out of a move to Chelsea at the last minute despite making it clear that he does not see his future with Everton. It is believed the 23-year-old has designs on a move to Tottenham, who were reluctant to pay the Toffees' £35m asking price and are hoping to snaffle the England international on a cut-price deal in January.