Ever since that mistake at Parkhead, there’s been a spotlight on Ben Davies’ performances for Rangers. The opinion of him seemed pretty positive until that day, then he seemed to suffer a crisis of confidence. A poor performance shortly after against St. Mirren followed John Souttar coming back into the team.
The fact that Souttar was excellent towards the end of the season didn’t help the opinion of Davies. When it comes to a straight comparison, Souttar offers most things that Davies does (minus being left footed) alongside being a much more aggressive and strong defender.
I think the opinion would be different if Rangers hadn’t have paid a reported £4m for the 27-year-old Englishmen. For that fee, fans expect a much more well rounded defender than what they’ve seen. One thing can’t be denied, he’s very tidy on the ball and is a good passer, particularly when it comes to firing passes through the lines. He’s also an intelligent defender in a position sense, which is why he averages less than one tackle per game, he positions himself well to intercept the ball before it comes to that.
That being said, he isn’t particularly strong in the tackle or in the air. He reads the game very well but when it comes to 50/50s he looks weak. The last against St. Mirren at Ibrox, he got bullied by Curtis Main. Compare that to John Souttar whom I’ve never seen get bullied by a striker. Rangers need ball playing centre backs, but the club also need centre backs that can be strong and throw everything at the ball. That’s not Ben Davies’ game and why he has been criticised so much recently.
I’d love John Souttar to be his replacement. It does seem though, that Michael Beale wants to add a left sided centre back this summer. So, if it’s not Souttar, who are the other options? Let’s look at three players who have been linked this window.
Panzo’s name is the one that has been seen the most. Varying reports seem to be released daily claiming the deal is close to being done or no movement has been made. Currently it’s unclear what Rangers position is on it but, according to various reports, the club seem to be unwilling to pay the supposed £2.5m fee to Nottingham Forest for the 22-year-old.
He’s comfortable playing centre back and left back, which would add even more defensive versatility. He was really impressive for Coventry, for most of last season, in the Championship. A lot of fans would’ve seen him have a bit of a nightmare in the Play-Off final, but compared to the rest of his season, that was an anomaly. His numbers really stood out;
- 13 Clean Sheets in 29 Appearances
- 1.7 Interceptions Per Game
- 1.6 Tackles Per Game
- 58% Ground Duels Won (4.2 Per Game)
- 59% Aerial Duels Won (2 Per Game)
For a league as competitive as the Championship, these numbers are excellent. He was really key in Coventry’s promotion push last season and considering his age, £2.5m could be a decent price. He’s confident coming out with the ball and is an accomplished passer, exactly what Rangers need. He even averages 50% long pass accuracy on 1.7 per game.
Panzo is quick and athletic, alongside possessing good ability on the ball and defensive awareness. He’s not quick Calvin Bassey levels of athletic but his ability on the ball is a step up. Michael Beale knows him from the Chelsea academy and has kept an eye on his career. He knows the type of player he’ll be getting and if he’s good enough for the manager, he’s good enough for me.
Read more about him here.
All seems to have gone quiet on Rangers link to the 24-year-old American. Play style wise, he’s very similar to Panzo in being able to play centre back and left back while being good on the ball. He also had an excellent season on loan in the Championship, with Birmingham. These were the numbers he posted;
- 44 Appearances
- 13 Clean Sheets
- 1.5 Interceptions Per Game
- 2.3 Tackles Per Game
- 4 Clearances Per Game
- 59% Ground Duels Won
- 56% Aerial Duels Won
These numbers helped him with player of the year for the midlands side and he became a fan favourite. The reports that came out when he was first linked suggested he was available for £2m. However, reports since then have suggested Rangers are unwilling to pay the package Arsenal desire, insinuating that it’s definitely over £2m now.
Again, Trusty is tall and athletic, like most of this summers other signings. He really had an incredible season at both ends of the pitch. Interest is thought to be high from upper Championship sides and some EPL clubs. This is one Rangers may potentially be priced out of unfortunately. I think Trusty looks like an exciting player, we’ll just have to wait and see how it pans out.
Think link came from FLW and claimed Rangers had a bid rejected for Leeds 20-year-old star. He had an incredibly good season on loan at Millwall last term, with Sofascore giving him an averaging rating of 7.13 over his 28 Championship appearances. These were the rest of his numbers from the campaign;
- 28 Appearances (25 Starts)
- 83% Pass Accuracy in Own Half
- 41% Long Ball Accuracy (4 Attempts Per Game)
- 1.3 Interceptions Per Game
- 1.5 Tackles Per Game
- 58% Ground Duels Won (2.4 Per Game)
- 61% Aerial Duels Won (5.2 Per Game)
The young Englishman really reminds me of John Souttar. He’s big and powerful while being very capable with the ball at his feet. The difference with his link is that he’s right sided, unlike Panzo and Trusty. There also hasn’t been much movement since that bid was apparently rejected.
There wasn’t any speculation on how much the bid that was rejected was, in my opinion though, he could be very costly. Leeds have already lost Diego Llorente and Robin Koch for the upcoming season so they may not want to lose another centre back. Especially not one that’s homegrown and has a lot of potential.
I feel this would be a coup if Rangers could, somehow, pull it off. He’s a player with EPL potential and if he continues the trajectory that he’s on, will be worth a lot of money in a couple of years. The rumour has gone completely cold but that doesn’t mean work isn’t going on in the background to make it happen. How would you feel about this one?
Of the three ‘targets’ Jonathan Panzo definitely seems the most likely to happen. The rumours surrounding him are the only ones that have been consistent throughout the window.
Ben Davies hasn’t actually been linked with a move anywhere so it’s unclear if that is something that is actually in the works. Targeting more left sided centre backs could be a coincidence or could be back up for Davies. I think one thing is clear though, if the club could get the money back for him, they should definitely consider it.
I don’t think he’s a bad player at all, he is, in fact, a very good ball playing centre back. When it comes to the dirty work though, he doesn’t seem to have that in him and that is why he gets criticism from the fans. Do you rate Ben Davies? Would you sell him this summer? If so, how much you would accept for him?