Rangers finally completed the signing of 24-year-old Ecuadorian international José Cifuentes yesterday. The midfielder joins for a fee of around £1.2m and signed a four-year deal. He will wear the number 15 this season and seems delighted to have finally sealed the move after months of speculation!
José Cifuentes on Joining Rangers
After signing on the dotted line, he had this to say;
I’m very excited to be here, I think this club is amazing.
When I spoke to Michael Beale, he told me about the project, what he wants here for the club, and he told me what he wants from me here so that’s why I joined. I love his project and his vision for football.José Cifuentes to RTV
His words pretty much align with what every other signing has said upon joining, the manager was key in the decision. It’s very exciting to hear that all the new players were excited by the project and Michael Beal’s vision. I can’t be the only one that’s desperate to hear his sales pitch?
Michael Beale on José Cifuentes
The manager had this to say on his latest signing;
Jose is a player we have followed for a long time. I was originally aware of him when he broke through in Ecuador and I have followed him on his journey with LAFC in the MLS.
He is a midfielder who can play in a variety of roles, both as a box-to-box player and in a more defensive role. He has excelled in the MLS and for his national team.
When I returned to Rangers, he was a name that was immediately discussed and one that we knew we would have a lot of competition to overcome if we were to sign him. When meeting to discuss the move, it was clear that we are aligned in our thinking and on his further development.
I am delighted we have Jose here at Rangers and I must thank everyone involved in the process of making this transfer a reality.Michael Beale on José Cifuentes to RTV
Previously the Ecuadorian has been linked to Manchester City, Brighton and out city rivals. He’s a very highly rated player and the fact Rangers got him for £1.2m is brilliant business. It’s also normally a good sign when a manager has tracked a player for years and has been impressed throughout. José Cifuentes is the most exciting signing this summer, for me anyway.
Now that we’ve heard what the manager and Cifu have to say, let’s look at his numbers from the MLS this season.
All stats are Per90, unless stated otherwise.
- 2.98 Interceptions
- 6.08 Recoveries (53.6% in opposition half)
- 2.5 Loose Ball Duels (40.5% won)
- 6.67 Defensive Duels (53.6% won)
- 2.38 Aerial Duels (47.5% won)
As the manager previously stated, José Cifuentes, can play as an 8 or a 6 and these numbers show his defensive prowess. He’s a player who will cover every blade of grass and loves nothing more than getting the ball back from the opposition.
With the style of press Beale has instilled in the team, he will be perfect for it. He positions himself very intelligently to pick the ball off of his opponents, as is evident from his interception and recovery numbers. He’s tough in the tackle and never backs out of a challenge, the perfect combative option for both the 6 and 8 positions.
Defensively, he’ll add much needed energy that is sometimes missed with the likes of Jack and Lundstram. His energy combined with tenacity will be a welcome addition to a midfield that has been lacking it at times. A midfield three of him with Raskin and Cantwell is something that excites me, a lot.
- 3 Assists (2.57 xA)
- 77.4% Pass Accuracy (44.97 Per90)
- 39.3% Long Pass Accuracy (3.99 Per90)
- 66% Forward Pass Accuracy (17.51 Per90)
- 65.1% Passes to The Final Third Accuracy (8.87 Per90)
- 31% Through Pass Accuracy (2.5 Per90)
- 46.4% Pass to The Penalty Area Accuracy (4.11 Per90)
- 33.71 Received Passes
These numbers may seem low at first glance, but it’s worth noting that, especially going forward, he attempts very risky passes. This can be looked at two ways, he always looks to get the ball forward and get attacks going so that’s positive. It can also be construed negatively in that it leads to him giving the ball away at times.
He creates a lot of chances for his team mates and had LAFCs forwards been a bit more clinical, he’d definitely have more assists this season. The fact that Rangers have a completely refreshed forward line hopefully bodes well for his future assist numbers.
He can create and looks to get on the ball and be positive with it, particularly with his passing. I’m excited to see how many chances he can create for Rangers new forwards.
- 1 Goal (2.48 xG)
- 1.73 Shots (13.8% on target)
- 1.43 Shot Assists
- 50% Successful Dribbles (3.57 Per90)
- 1.49 Progressive Runs
He hasn’t had his best season in attacking terms, for instance, last season he scored 7 goals against a 6.73 xG. So he is capable of getting goals, the one goal he has scored in the MLS this season was an absolutely beautiful half volley on his left foot. He’s not scared to have a shot from distance and this can bode well for Rangers. There has been a lack of players willing to take a shot from distance in recent times, so adding players capable of scoring from outside of the 18-yard box could be key in tight games.
He’s very comfortable with the ball at his feet and will drive the team forward whenever possible. If Rangers play with him, Cantwell and Raskin they’ll have three midfielders in there capable of running with the ball and driving forward for the first time in years.
He’s at his best being box to box and I fully believe his attacking output will be better for Rangers than it was for LAFC. He’s the type of player that should be more than capable of providing 10/15 goal contributions in a season and I’m excited to see him get started.
I am so, so excited to see José Cifuentes is a Rangers jersey. I truly believe he could be the signing of the summer and is an absolute bargain at £1.2m. He’s a proper all round midfielder that can do a bit of everything. He’s a very exciting addition to a midfield that was hugely improved in January and has gotten even better this window.
How excited are you about José Cifuentes? Where does he rate in terms of the summer signings for you?
ICYMI check out this mornings article on who should start in the front three tomorrow against Kilmarnock here.