Late Saturday evening, the Daily Record broke the story that Rangers were closing in on a £2.5m move for Nottingham Forest defender Jonathan Panzo. The 22-year-old knows Michael Beale from their time at the Chelsea academy and Rangers seem the favourite to secure his signature. I wrote the latest on the transfer here.
Panzo is a very impressive defender, positionally great and his athleticism allows him to cover very well. These were his defensive numbers at Coventry last season;
- 29 Appearances (24 Starts)
- 1.7 Interceptions Per Game
- 1.6 Tackles Per Game
- 58% Total Duels Won (4.2)
- 57% Ground Duels Won (2.2)
- 59% Aerial Duels Won (2)
His high number on interceptions per game highlight the aforementioned positional ability. The amount of duels per game are that of a player who likes to get stuck in, both aerially and on the ground. In his 29 appearances, he helped Coventry keep thirteen clean sheets, which is an incredible record. Especially when you consider the competitiveness of the Championship, defensively that is superb.
These numbers are indicative of a player who can do all the defensive work needed and at twenty-two, will only improve.
He plays very similarly to Ben Davies in that he is very comfortable on the ball. He is confident at bringing it out from the back and then is able to play an accurate forward pass. The same as Davies, he loves those drilled passes through the lines and also regularly tries to switch the play and open up the pitch. These were his passing numbers last season;
- Accurate Passes Per Game 83% (31.4)
- Accuracy in Own Half 86% (19.4)
- Accuracy in Opposition Half 77% (12)
- Accurate Long Balls 50% (1.7)
These are great numbers for a modern day centre back and that’s exactly what Michael Beale wants. It’s clear his game plan works a lot better with centre backs who are comfortable on the ball. This has been seen through John Souttar and how he has excelled since his come back from injury. Panzo will be very much the same, just on the left side of the defence.
He is also capable of playing left back, meaning he’ll be another hybrid player that arrives alongside Dujon Sterling. That versatility is also huge in his value to the club, especially if Barisic is sold this summer.
Rangers defence and all around depth will be improved by the addition of Jonathan Panzo.
How Close is His Move to Ibrox?
Scott McDermott had this to say in the Daily Record piece;
Rangers are edging closer to securing a £2.5 million deal for Nottingham Forest defender Jonathan Panzo.
Record Sport understands both clubs are now in discussions, trying to thrash out the 22-year-old’s move to Ibrox. Gaffer Michael Beale is a long-time admirer of Panzo having coached him at Chelsea as a kid. And he’s had the former Monaco player watched several times this season while he’s been on loan at Coventry City.Scott McDermott, the Daily Record
This is one the manager has obviously been working on closely behind the scenes. Rangers appear to be favourites due to the managers relationship with the player so hopefully this is one which gets concluded quickly.
Personally, I’m more of a fan of Auston Trusty and would’ve preferred that deal. That being said, Panzo is two years younger and has more experience in Europe. I also feel there’s more potential for profit further down the line with Panzo given the fact that he’s English.
He adds quality on the ball and versatility to the defence, both things which are always needed. Left sided defenders always go for more so the reported £2.5m could be a real bargain for Rangers.
Rangers signing Jonathan Panzo could be a really shrewd piece of business. The manager already knows him and has watched him multiple times this season so he knows the player he’s getting. There is also potential for profit to be made from this deal as another positive.
Michael Beale has gotten all of his signings right so far, so the manager deserves the fans faith until he gets it wrong. Are you excited for his potential Ibrox arrival?