|Niclas Alexandersson - Right Attacking Midfielder|
Swedish international Niclas Alexandersson was one of Sheffield Wednesday’s more consistent performers during their disastrous relegation campaign in 1999-2000, managing to rack up five goals, and it was that form that persuaded Walter Smith to spend £2.2M on for him in the summer of 2000.
Arriving in England on the back of three seasons with IFK Gothenburg in his home country of Sweden, Alexandersson was given the opportunity to link up with Paul Gascoigne having been on opposite sides in a previous Champions League encounter.
"I am sure it will be fun to play with him [Gascoigne]. Actually I have his match-shirt on my wall at home. I received it when IFK Gothenburg played Rangers," he said upon his arrival from Hillsborough.
Walter Smith said of his acquisition: "He is a player I first came across when he came to Ibrox with Gothenburg for a European tie with Rangers and he was easily their best player.
"When I saw that he had signed for Sheffield Wednesday just afterwards I knew they'd made an astute signing but since then I have watched him progress, looking at him as a player who will give us width. He plays the position well, is hardworking, has a good attitude and is an all-round good footballer who can chip in with a few goals for us."
Initial signs were very positive as Niclas turned in a scintillating 2000 pre-season, scoring 9 goals, but after an erratic start he became a casualty of Everton's dreadful mid-season injury crisis. Returning that March he managed to weigh in with a couple of goals in 17 league appearances as the Blues struggled to Premiership safety to secure a 16th-placed finish.
Not a conventional winger, but looking uneasy when employed in central midfield, Alexandersson sometimes suffers from a lack of either belief or ability to take on and beat defenders down the right flank. There is no doubt that when he is on song he can be a vital cog in the Everton attacking wheel, but he suffers from a tendency to drift in and out of the action.
But some fans feel he is a player who will take on and beat a defender less than 5 times in a season — something Giggs does more often in a typical first half! He doesn't know how to tackle or head a ball, and he spends most games looking somewhat disinterested. He couldn't even look good in the acres of space given to him at Highbury in the last game of the 2001-02 season. But he was in Sweden's World Cup Squad... unlike Jesper Blomqvist...
No-one could ever say that David Moyes didn't give him a chance to prove himself. All he proved is that he is not part of Everton's future. He faded from sight by the middle of the 2002-03 season and never reappeared after coming on as a sub and scoring the consolation goal in the infamous FA Cup 3rd Round defeat to lowly Shrewsbury Town.
Despite some fine words before the start of the next season, it's actions on the field that matter, and David Moyes saw none. Alexandersson was eventually offloaded on loan to West Ham in September 2003 but declined to extend a month-long sojourn and returned to languish in the reserves. Finally, after the January transfer window had closed, it was announced that he had returned to IFK Gothenburg on a free transfer.
Last updated by Michael Kenrick, February 2004