After an early announcement that the deal for 23-year-old Dujon Sterling had been completed from Stevie via 4ladshadadream on Twitter the club officially announced it last night. Sterling has signed a four-year-deal on a free transfer and will join the squad July 1st.
During his first interview with RTV he had this to say ‘I got to speak to the Gaffer straight away, I had a lot of clubs in for me but as soon as he gave me the proposal of what he wanted to do I left that meeting and I said yeah, I’m signing here.
I wasn’t expecting to make my mind up about my future this quickly but what he proposed to me was everything that I need. We were on the same wavelength, he believes in me and I believe in what he is trying to do as well so it was a no-brainer for me.’
Encouraging words and an absolute testament to the pull Michael Beale has in convincing players to come to Ibrox. He also went on to talk about his own personal play style a bit. He spoke about how he tackles hard and loves doing the defensive work, but will get forward once his defensive duties are sorted.
It’s refreshing to hear a full back talk about how they want to make sure they’ve done their defensive duties before wanting to get forward. He also said he knows he can be a threat when he gets forward, he’s known at his former clubs for his strong and powerful forward runs.
Sterling is a physical monster, he’s tall, possesses great pace and is also very strong and powerful, the perfect build for any defender.
His manager at Stoke City this season, Alex Neil, has this to say “Dujon, for me, is arguably one of the best one-on-one defenders I’ve seen. There are very few players who get past him – he is strong, powerful and determined.”
That is something Rangers have massively lacked at right-back. As important as Tavernier and his numbers are, the defensive side of the game isn’t his strong point. Being able to let a defender man-mark an opponent with no fear of them being beaten could be crucial in big European ties.
His key numbers for Stoke this season were;
- 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)
His attacking output wasn’t at its best this season, but he did have to defend a lot. He plays true to his word in that he makes sure he’s covered defensively before getting forward. That is something Rangers aren’t used to having from right-back considering Tavernier is one of the sides main attacking threats. Having Sterling in there would put more onus on the forward players to create and get goals.
It’s not only right-back he can play though, one of his many strengths is the ability to play all across the back-line. This Rangers side is blessed with pace all over the pitch and he would add that wherever he played.
He will come in and provide some much needed versatility to the team. He’s the type of ‘hybrid’ player Beale has spoken of extensively when talking about recruitment. Having a player able to play in either full back positions and centre back is huge. Him being in there will mean Beale can change formations without having to make a substitution as he can fill in, in a back three/five and all across the line.
He’s an incredibly powerful runner with the ball and will have plenty opportunity to maraud up and down the wings. Playing in a side, like Rangers, who control possession will allow him to get forward more often which will undoubtedly increase his goal/assist numbers.
On a free transfer this deal seems an absolute steal for Rangers. He’s came from a prestigious academy and had plenty of clubs chasing him which shows the calibre of player the club are getting. Fans will be excited to see him in action for the first time and will hope he settles in quickly.
A smart signing by Michael Beale and already the second through the door with more expected to be announced in the next week or so. It’s a hugely important summer for Rangers and it’s refreshing to see some business getting done early doors.