It was no secret that the Rangers squad needed a massive overhaul this summer. I’m not quiet sure anyone expected this much business to be done as quickly as it has been though. Michael Beale has already confirmed THREE signings and the transfer window isn’t even open yet! Three free transfers from down south have been confirmed in Kieran Dowell, Dujon Sterling and Jack Butland. All three players are set to join the club on July 1st but seeing the deals already confirmed is hugely encouraging for fans.
This shows that Rangers aren’t messing about and want to get a settled squad in as soon as possible. To get back to where they belong, Rangers need a freshness in their squad and this summer has started brightly. The overhaul started with the announcement of these players leaving;
- Scott Arfield
- Allan McGregor
- Alfredo Morelos
- Ryan Kent
- Filip Helander
The above departures represent a huge relief to the wage budget going forward and has given Rangers the opportunity to spend early. Let’s look at the three incoming players and what they can offer to the club going forward.
The first arrival that was announced was twenty-five-year old English midfielder Kieran Dowell and he will arrive from Norwich upon the expiry of his deal. It’s very easy to compare him to Todd Cantwell as he’s taking the same career path at present but there are some similarities beyond that. Both players were highly touted in their younger years and never quite hit the level expected and much like Cantwell, Dowell is looking for a fresh start at a new home.
He’s a player with EPL, Championship and international, up to U21, experience so he arrives with good pedigree. A cause for concern for Rangers fans was the fact that he ended the season injured but he doesn’t have an extensive injury history. Despite a stop-start season these were his numbers;
- 23 Appearances (14 Starts)
- 49mins Per Game
- 1 Key Pass Per Game
- 76% Successful Dribbles (0.7 Per Game)
Considering his average minutes per game these are actually very good numbers and it’s exciting to think what he can do with more regular game time. In a side like Rangers who dominate possession and create chances, he will thrive. Additionally, the more he gets on the ball the more effective he can be and he’ll see plenty of the ball here.
Despite not always being a regular in the Norwich side, he always contributed when he was involved. Undeniably, he possesses tremendous ability on the ball, his left foot is the stuff of dreams, at times. When at his best he’s a creator who is capable of scoring absolutely worldies with his left foot. When on his game, he can be the sides prime creator, who will always manage to find space on the pitch.
He’s capable of playing as an eight, ten and from the right hand side cutting in. He’s the type of ‘hybrid player’ Michael Beale spoke about regarding recruitment earlier this year.
In short, Kieran Dowell is a signing that I’m excited for, I think he can provide moments of magic for Rangers when they need it most.
Further in-depth analysis is available here.
Earlier, ‘hybrid players’ were mentioned and they don’t get much more hybrid than Dujon Sterling. The absolute epitome of versatile, the 23-year-old is capable of playing all across the back line, including wing-back. In his interview with RTV he spoke of how he preferred to make sure his defensive duties were sorted before attacking. That is clear to see in his numbers for the season. That being said, his defensive numbers were excellent for Stoke last season;
- 26 Appearances (24 Starts)
- 5 Clean Sheets
- 1.3 Interceptions Per Game
- 1.7 Tackles Per Game
- 1.4 Clearances Per Game
- 55% Ground Duels Won (3 Per Game)
- 51% Aerial Duels Won (1.5 Per Game)
These numbers show how quality he is defensively but going forward, he is an absolute unit. A player who possesses incredible pace and power he often beats his markers down the wing. His end product needs to be worked on but that could improve by playing in a more attacking side. That being said, he has all the qualities of an attacking threat, just needs placed in an attacking side.
Another player with a mass of Championship experience, he’s impressed in every loan spell he’s had. I think this is a massive coup for Rangers, especially on a free transfer. This point is further proven by the fact that Chelsea offered him a deal to keep him at the club but he turned it down.
Above all, Sterling adds a versatility to a defence which massively lacked it last season and could be a key player in helping Rangers regain the title.
Further in-depth analysis here.
The final of the three confirmed signings so far was former England international Jack Butland. The 30-year-old goalkeeper will arrive from Crystal Palace upon the expiry of his contract and take the number one jersey at Ibrox. I’ve recently written a lot about my feelings on Butland and what he will bring to this Rangers side so I won’t waffle on too much here.
Regarding the signing, I’m delighted with it, he comes in as a player with EPL and international experience. How often will Rangers be able to get a player with that pedigree for free? Especially a player who, as a goalkeeper, is still relatively young at thirty. All things considered, lack of game time, high wages, injury history, this was a risk the club had to take. As previously mentioned, free agents with his pedigree don’t come around every day, so I’m delighted Michael Beale has snapped him up.
Further in-depth analysis here.
Personally, I think this has been an excellent start to the transfer season. I can’t remember a time, if there’s ever been one, that Rangers have confirmed this many signings this early on. All three players have experience at a good level and can kick on even further at Ibrox. We’re looking at an ex-international goalkeeper, a Chelsea academy graduate and an Everton academy graduate who was touted for the top, by Phillip Cocu!
This is only the beginning of the window and I’m already happy with how it’s started, how about you? How do you feel about the signings so far?