STALE Solbakken has stressed that Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson is no ‘replacement’ for any of his in-demand strikers.
But he says the Lillestrom youngster is good enough already to be a Championship hit – and will get even better when he can add a cooler head to his bustling shoulders.
Much has been made of Steven Fletcher and Kevin Doyle’s futures, but Solbakken says sternly: “He is not a replacement at all. He is a very different player from them.”
Solbakken’s £2.4million buy could be an absolute steal if the Icelander lives up to only half his potential.
“Obviously I’ve seen him quite a lot and think he’s the type of guy who can make a difference already this season, in some games,” he said.
“But it’s also important to have in mind that he’s just turned 21 and has just played half a year at Lillestrom.
“His goalscoring ability can improve, his coolness can improve, but I can see the raw material is very much there.
“He’s got the physique that can handle a Championship.
“He’s got speed, he’s got two good feet, he can also jump.
“So if we can work with him each day and get his understanding a little bit better, I think that he’s got everything that it takes to play at a higher level than he is doing now and maybe also a higher level than the Championship.”
The boss calls the deal ‘a win-win situation’. Wolves, he says, would have missed out had they dallied.
“I don’t think that he is quite ready for the Premier League yet, so this is probably right,” Solbakken said.
“With his age and his potential it is just a question of time before he breaks through into the Iceland national team.
“He’s got one game and I spoke to the national coach.
“He was picked for the last squad but had a small injury but I saw the last under-21 game when he scored and was completely dominating the game with his physique, so I think with him you can’t lose.
“If he’s not successful here there’ll always be someone who’s seen his potential who’ll pay the same kind of money back.
“So it is a win-win situation for everyone. If we had waited and said: ‘OK how good is he really?’ then we would have no chance to compete because if he had done well for half a year more or a season more then he would be out of our reach.”
Sigurdarson will arrive around July 14. It is not yet decided whether he will join the squad in Ireland.
Solbakken says the three extra leagues games for Lillestrom are not important: “I think that speaks also for him because they are in a very difficult situation.
“There was no issue. We just handled the deal and said it was up to him because he’s already had a two-week holiday.”