There was an air of excitement on Twitter on Friday afternoon surrounding the deal involving José Cifuentes to Rangers. This tweet sent fans into a frenzy;
Which translates to ‘CONFIRMED in the next few hours the transfer of José Cifuentes to @RangersFC of Scotland, current club @LAFC of the United States would be defined.’ Then Scott Burns wrote this article for the Daily Record surrounding the deal, this is what he had to say;
The Light Blues have had an agreement in place with the Ecuadorian international for several weeks and the move is now subject to a fee being agreed with his Major League Soccer side. Reports in America claimed that a deal of around £1million has been thrashed out but Ibrox sources on Thursday night insisted there was still no deal in place. Claims Stateside have also claimed that Cifuentes has said his farewells to his LAFC teammates after the midweek derby defeat to LA Galaxy.Scott Burns for the Daily Record
This isn’t the first farewell from Cifuentes, he posted a goodbye message on Instagram over a month ago and still continued to play for LAFC as recently as Wednesday. Could it finally be moving forward now?
Well, not according to Jonny McFarlane of the Rangers Review who said this;
I’m sure other fans feel exactly like me on this one, I have no idea whether I’m coming or going! This isn’t the first time the deal has deemed ‘close’ but all signs still point to the fact that he will sign with Rangers, eventually.
Enough of the rumour merry go round, let’s focus on what he can add to the team upon his arrival.
- 16 Appearances (10 Starts)
- 1.7 Key Passes Per Game
- 56% Long Ball Accuracy (1.8 Per Game)
- 1.4 Tackles Per Game
- 0.9 Possession Won in Final Third Per Game
- 59% Dribble Success (1.2 Per Game)
- 42% Total Duels Won (4.1 Per Game)
These are the numbers of an all round midfielder. His goal contributions aren’t the same level as last years but LAFC aren’t performing as well in general.
The stats here show a creative midfielder who’s willing to do the dirty work. 1.7 key passes per game is excellent and his assists numbers would be higher in a team with more consistent finishers.
As I previously mentioned, the 24-year-old Ecuador international is an all round midfielder. Capable of playing as a six and an eight incredibly well but also has the attributes to perform in the number ten position.
So, what makes him a great number six? Mostly, his tenacity and desire to win the ball back. He also doesn’t have a need to be the player getting the glory. He’s happy doing the dirty work and allowing others to create and set up the attacks. That’s the beauty of his game, he adjusts incredibly well to the role he’s being asked to play. He has great positional intelligence and knows which areas of the pitch to cover at the right time.
If he was being asked to sit in front of the defence, he would be disciplined in his positioning, win the ball back then pass it off to the other midfielders/attackers. This is a role he’s very capable of doing but I don’t think it’s where he’s at his best.
I see his best position as a number eight. The perfect box to box midfielder who can equally focus on their attacking and defensive duties. He seems like a managers dream of a midfielder. I think Cifuentes really thrives when he’s driving forward with the ball at his feet. His dribble success percentage shows how effective he can be doing this.
Add in to the fact that he averages 1.7 key passes per game and he can be a creative force from the midfield. He created eleven chances in his last six games for LAFC while playing in a number eight role. Unfortunately, he got no assists from any of these chances created, as previously mentioned, his assist numbers could be incredible in a team that were more consistent in front of goal.
He also plays with, what seems to be, boundless energy. He covers every blade of grass in an attempt to make sure his team are always on the front foot. Whether that be from pressing to win the ball back or driving forward with it himself. With Rangers playing a high pressing game now, I think he’ll fit right in.
I can see Cifuentes having a similar impact in the midfield as Todd Cantwell when he plays as an eight. Great in the press, comfortable on the ball and as fit as they come. The one thing he has over Cantwell though, is physicality. He’s stronger and quicker, does that mean he’ll be as effective as Cantwell has been? No. All I’m suggesting is he offers very similar attributes to what Cantwell does when he plays deeper.
How Close is José Cifuentes to Rangers?
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, it’s not really clear at this point. The only thing that is clear on this one, is the fact that the club are working hard to make the deal happen. LAFC and the transfer fee involved seem to be the issue with this one.
Many fans are speculating the deal may be complete after LAFC play Minnesota United on the 16th. The reason being that, after that game, they don’t play again for a month. This would allow them to find a replacement and, logistically, it makes sense.
Rangers left for their training camp in Germany yesterday, so we’ll see how this one plays out over the coming days.
I’m incredibly excited by this deal. Not only does he seem like a high quality talent, he also arrives with a great profile. A 24-year-old Ecuadorian international, previously linked with the likes of Brighton. How could you not be excited by that?!
Add into the fact that his previous links have reported fees of around £10m and Rangers have an absolute bargain here. I’m definitely being overly positive here, but I just can’t see a scenario where this move doesn’t work out.
How do you feel about this move? Are you excited for the eventual arrival of José Cifuentes?