As the start of the Scottish Premiership season is fast approaching, Rangers have been busy in the transfer window, signing eight players so far. Feyenoord forward Danilo is expected to join the club after the Dutch giants accepted an offer of £6 million. Los Angeles midfielder Jose Cifuentes, who’s already signed a pre-contract, but it’s believed he will join his new teammates this window.
Beale said at the end of last season it would be the biggest rebuild at Ibrox in years, and he’s certainly lived up to his word. The Rangers board deserves credit for backing the Englishman in the transfer market and providing the appropriate funds to strengthen the squad. The areas that mainly needed surgery were the final third and the goalkeeping department. Former England international Jack Butland was signed as a replacement for the Rangers legend Allan McGregor. At 30 years old, which is a fantastic age for a goalkeeper, the former Stoke City shot-stopper has a point to prove and was a good bit of business from Beale.
There were concerns amongst the Rangers faithful about finding a replacement for Alfredo Morelos, who is still without a club. Cyriel Dessers was signed for €5 million from Cremonese and looks to be the right man to fill his boots as the number-one striker at Ibrox. Dessers is an all-round striker and can score with both feet. While on loan at Feyenoord, the 28-year-old had an impressive 2021/2022 season scoring 21 goals and finished top goal scorer in the Europa Conference League with ten goals.
Sam Lammers, who joined from Atalanta for a fee of £3.5 million, has put in shroud performances in pre-season and looks like he will fit into Beale’s system nicely. The Dutchman bagged a goal against Newcastle in McGregor’s testimonial. The signing of Lammers raised some eyebrows due to his poor goalscoring record but with how technically sound he is on the ball and his ability to link up the play, he’ll fit into Beale’s system perfectly and could be a surprise package this season.
For a long period of time, the Light Blues have been heavily reliant on captain James Tavernier on the right-hand side to contribute with goals and assists. The right-back has scored 101 goals and has 117 assists for the club. Finding a consistent starter in that position has been an issue. Rabbi Matondo and Scott Wright have struggled to make that position their own, with both expected to depart the club in the near future.
Abadalla Sima could be the answer to that headache on the right wing. The 22-year-old signed for Brighton & Hove Albion for £7 million but hasn’t made an appearance for the club. The Senegal international played against Rangers for Slavia Prague in the 2020/2021 season in the Europa League last 16 and was one of the standout players over the two legs. He’s lightning quick, skillful, and a versatile forward who can play as a right winger, striker and out on the left wing.
Leon Balogun re-joined the club for the second time on a free agent after he surprisingly got released last season by then Gers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst. The Nigerian international is the only centre-half that’s been signed by Beale thus far, and it’s a sensible move as he’s a solid defender and a valuable squad player. There’s no question about it – Connor Goldson is Beale’s best centre-back and, towards the end of last season, had a strong partnership with John Souttar.
Souttar missed the majority of last season due to an ankle injury and has a reputation for being injury prone. The former Hearts man has had issues with his Achilles tendon in the past and has ruptured it three times throughout his professional career. Ben Davies struggled in the big games against Celtic last season and hasn’t lived up to the hype that he had when he arrived from Liverpool.
Goldson and Souttar are the best defensive partnership currently at Ibrox, but with his track record with damming injuries, it may be wise that Beale looks to bring in another centre-back. Tavernier played in every league game last season, and at his age of 32 years old, that will be a struggle to repeat as he gets older. Dujon Sterling, who was on loan at Stoke City last season, will be an effective rotation player and will no doubt give him competition for his position.
The Rangers midfield is stacked with strength and depth. Todd Cantwell, Nicolas Raskin, Cifuentes, and Kieran Dowell are all talented players and are set to be a thorn in the side for the opposition in Scotland this season. With more signings expected, Beale will have to offload players in order to balance the squad out. Glen Kamara is on the verge of joining Leeds United, Borna Barisic has a year left on his contract and is expected to leave after spending five years in Glasgow, and Fashion Sakala’s future is also uncertain.
Antonio Colak signed for Serie B side Parma for £2.5 million, which is a great deal as the Govan side made a profit on the Croatian forward, who was signed for £1.8 million last summer. Beale has had a strong transfer window, and now it’s time to do the talking on the pitch. The future looks promising at Ibrox, and now the Beale era properly begins.
By: Scott Bradley / @ScottBradleyX
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