At 19-years-old Abdallah Sima was lighting it up domestically and in Europe for Slavia Prague. The right winger caught the attention of many due to his combination of size, power and pace. In the 20/21 1.Liga season, he scored 11 goals in 21 appearances (17 starts) averaging a goal every 132 minutes, while playing 69 minutes per game.
In the same season, in the Europa League, he also scored 4 goals in 11 appearances (9 starts) and had some incredibly impressive performances. He particularly impressed against both Leicester and Rangers. Sima was an absolute nightmare for both defences due to his ability to run with the ball and making runs in behind.
There aren’t many 6’1 forwards that possess the pace that he does, that combination of speed and strength makes him a unique threat and allows him to play all across the front line. So what can Abdallah Sima provide for Rangers this season, let’s take a look.
In the aforementioned impressive Europa League campaign in the 20/21 season, 3 of his 4 goals came from headers. Then again last season in Ligue 1 for Angers, 2 of 5 of his goals were scored in the air. He is an absolute force of nature when attacking the ball and that is something Rangers have lack in recent seasons.
He will be a genuine threat from set pieces and could thrive from crosses being put into the box. Even when he can’t win the header, he’s still a nuisance to defenders, using his body to put them off as much as possible.
Below is a perfect example of both points made above;
First, he uses his body to unsettle the defender which makes them awkwardly head it towards the middle of the pitch, allowing Rangers to win back possession. He then gets in to the box and attacks Barisic’s cross at the front post and connects with it beautifully. From that angle he somehow manages to generate enough power and direction to send it over the goalkeeper into the opposite corner. A truly tremendous headed effort.
He’s going to be a threat at corners and with any crosses coming into the box. Which is something Rangers lacked at times last season as previously mentioned.
Below shows three headers scored in the UEL when he was at Slavia Prague and highlights his aerial ability;
Not only is he strong in the air, he’s incredibly powerful when running with the ball at his feet. He doesn’t use his body the same way Alfredo Morelos did in backing into defenders and then turning them.
Instead he prefers to run at defenders and bounce them off when they try to challenge. He’s strong at protecting the ball but I don’t think he thrives playing with his back to goal.
His height also plays a big part in his physical presence, especially when being defended by full backs. You can see how he uses his body in the below clip vs Sandro Tonali;
Tonali has his hands over Sima’s shoulder but that doesn’t phase the Senegalese forward. He uses a combination of his strength and balance to keep the ball and then pick up the foul.
I think his physical presence will be key against tough SPFL defences. Then, in the same vein, I think his pace will be key in European ties where Rangers don’t have as much of the ball.
I’m very excited to see how he plays come the start of the season given his physical profile.
As previously mentioned, he gets a lot of goals from headers. That’s maybe the biggest weapon in his arsenal finishing wise. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a good finisher with his feet though.
He’s confident taking shots with both feet and isn’t afraid of an effort from outside of the area. Below is an example of his ability from outside the area in a huge European tie against Leicester;
His ability is definitely not in question when it comes to finishing. Composure is something that could maybe be worked on, but that can come with experience.
He’ll get plenty of chances for Rangers this season and I don’t doubt he’ll have a decent goal return.
Where Will Abdallah Sima Play?
I think the Newcastle match showed he’s not a main striker, he won’t thrive with his back to goal matching up against centre backs. I think his ideal position is as the second striker, where Fashion Sakala played last season.
He’ll thrive playing off of someone like Dessers who can take the ball in then look to play him in behind. Playing with creative players like Lammers, Cantwell and Raskin will help as he always looks to make those darting runs in between full backs and centre backs.
He’s more physical and technically more polished than Sakala which excites me in terms of the numbers he may produce.
His unique combination of height, power and pace will certainly be interesting and, hopefully, less frustrating to watch.
This is the one transfer in the forward area that hasn’t been spoken about as much, potentially because it’s a loan move? There is much less pressure on this deal than the ones for Lammers and Dessers but it could still be crucial in Rangers season.
I’m very excited to see why he can provide this season and also hoping that there’s a buy option in the loan (assuming it goes well).
How do you feel about this transfer? Are you less excited with this one because it’s a loan move? What do you think Abdallah Sima can add to this current Rangers team?
You can read the previous article in the series, focused on Sam Lammers, here.