Keen to bolster their midfield ranks after relegation from the Premier League, Daniel Farke’s Leeds United finally snapped up Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara after months of transfer speculation, bringing to an end an impressive four-year spell in Glasgow for the Finnish international.
Having started the season with youngster Archie Gray next to Ethan Ampadu, Kamara was handed his full debut in the Whites’ 3-0 win over Watford at Elland Road in September, with the 28-year-old midfielder becoming a vital cog in the side and starting 16 of the next 20 league matches. In two of the five defeats during that spell, the former Rangers man was an unused substitute.
Kamara’s skillset perfectly complements the more defensive-minded Ampadu in a midfield partnership. Ampadu, who has quickly become one of the league’s standout performers since his summer switch from Stamford Bridge, naturally plays deeper of the two, anticipating the game well and winning back possession for his side. Kamara, however, has much more license to get forward in his box-to-box role. The Arsenal academy product retains the ball well and uses his dribbling attributes to transition the play quickly.
#OnThisDay in 2⃣0⃣1⃣9⃣… James Tavernier & Scott Arfield scored as Rangers beat Celtic 2-0 at Ibrox. 👏
— SPFL (@spfl) May 12, 2020
He is still comfortable in his work out of possession and was particularly impressive in the Whites’ win at runaway leaders Leicester City, making eight recoveries and winning seven duels across the 90 minutes. Whilst two assists in 18 appearances isn’t the greatest of returns in a very attack-minded team, Kamara has a keen eye for a pass and knows when to dictate the tempo in possession. A player that likes to drift over to the left flank, the Tampere-born midfielder links up well with talisman Crysencio Summerville and whichever full-back Daniel Farke has available, often looking to find the Dutch livewire or exploit the space left open when the winger moves infield.
Initially involved in the Southend United youth system before joining the Arsenal academy, Kamara would go on to make just one League Cup appearance for the Gunners before heading north of the border to join Dundee in 2017. He would impress during his two-year stint at Dens Park enough for Rangers to come calling for his services, with the Glasgow outfit parting with around £50,000 to bring the then 21-year-old to Ibrox. Kamara would go on to make just under 200 appearances for Rangers in all competitions, notably playing an integral role in the 2020/21 season as Steven Gerrard’s side went on to lift the Scottish Premiership title.
The midfielder’s importance in the Gers midfield would continue to show during their remarkable run to the Europa League final the following campaign, appearing in 13 of the 14 matches including knockout ties against Borussia Dortmund, Red Star Belgrade, SC Braga and a semi-final against RB Leipzig. Victory over the German side will live long in the memory of those connected to the Ibrox club and Kamara himself, after grabbing the second in a 3-1 home victory.
A final against Eintracht Frankfurt proved to be one step too far for Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men and the fairy-tale ending was not to be, cruelly losing on penalties in Seville. Days later however and Kamara was lifting the second major honour of his career as a 2-0 victory over Hearts delivered Scottish Cup success at Hampden Park.
After representing his native Finland at under-19 and under-21 level, Kamara was handed his senior debut in a 3-0 friendly win over Estonia in 2017. Since then, the midfielder has gone on to make 58 appearances for his country, scoring twice and being called up for Finland’s first major tournament.
An ever-present during Euro 2020 qualification, Kamara helped the Fins to second place in a group that contained Italy, Greece and Bosnia before playing every minute of the tournament’s group stages. The team missed out on direct qualification to next summer’s edition in Germany, but still have a chance to progress via the Nations League playoffs.
As Leeds United’s pursuit of promotion continues, Glen Kamara will have an important part to play in West Yorkshire. Success is required at Rangers and Kamara will be hoping to use that same mentality to help get the Whites back to the Premier League.
By: Jack Douglas / @JDouglasSport
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Alexander Demianchuk / TASS