It’s clear that Michael Beale’s system hasn’t worked so far this season. Formations that have worked for Rangers in recent years have always included wingers.
Unfortunately, this summer Rangers lost last seasons two first choice wingers in Ryan Kent and Fashion Sakala. Direct replacements were never brought in, although loan signing Abdallah Sima is naturally a right winger.
This has left Rangers short of wide options. The signing of a winger was anticipated to come after Beale said the club were in the market for a ‘Ryan Kent type’. However, no such deal came to fruition.
Has that transfer window left Rangers with enough wide options to try and go with wingers again? Is it an area that can still be strengthened? There are still a couple of very interesting wide players available for free.
This article will look at current wide options and some potential options in the transfer market.
Abdallah Sima – The on-loan Brighton forward seems like he would be the first choice to play wide on the right. He came off the bench last Sunday and looked dangerous hugging the touchline.
He managed to get in behind a couple of times with his pace and power. An improvement on his final ball and decision making is still needed though.
That being said he would definitely provide width and pace to a side that has been massively lacking it this season. Apart from Sunday he’s mostly played through the middle and not really looked comfortable doing so.
If a 433 is an option, I would have him starting on the right.
Scott Wright – Rangers forgotten man, he was supposedly away to Turkey and the deal fell through. The fact is, he’s the only other natural right winger that remains at the club.
He doesn’t seem to be in Michael Beale’s plans but if he wants to revert to using wingers, Wright may need to come back into the fold.
He’ll give 100% effort and is capable of driving forward and beating defenders. However, consistency and decision making have always held him back. This is an area the club should have strengthened over the summer.
Other Options – Sam Lammers could be an option here with his ability on the ball. Would mean a lack of pace on the right side though but it could work. The same could be said for Kieran Dowell who has played the position before.
Rabbi Matondo – The Welsh international would be my choice for the left hand side. He’s had some excellent moments this season but hasn’t managed to be consistent with it.
Matondo wasn’t great in the Celtic game which has led fans to believe those moments were just flashes in the pan. He had a couple of good cameos, particularly PSV at Ibrox, before getting his chance to start in Eindhoven.
He made some excellent runs but wasn’t played through and had that incredible mazy run which result in him hitting the post. He’s capable, he just needs to find some consistency and continue to add numbers.
Tom Lawrence – The manager cited Lawrence as an option for the left wing position. He’s played there plenty over his career but, similar to Lammers he doesn’t provide pace in the position.
What he would provide though, is the ability to get the ball out of his feet and have a shot. He has a terrific right foot and can beat a player so would he a goal scoring threat from that side.
Other Options – Todd Cantwell has played there for a lot of his career. He’s definitely seen as more of an 8/10 at Rangers but he’s capable of providing similar to Lawrence from the position. Would Rangers miss him in the middle though?
Danilo spent some time on the left so far but hasn’t looked comfortable out there. Zak Lovelace has played wide for the B team at times, he has pace and power, could he be an option?
Again, Rangers should’ve brought in someone for this position, or at least someone who can play on either wing.
Free Agent Alternatives
The piece from Chris Jack which was released yesterday suggests there maybe isn’t wiggle room in the wage budget. If it could be found however, there are two very solid options for the wings available for free.
Oussama Idrissi – The 27-year-old ex-Sevilla winger was released this summer. He spent last season on loan at Eredivisie champions Feyenord.
He made 27 domestic appearances (17 starts) and scored 4 goals with 6 assists while only averaging 53mins per game. Idrissi also averaged 1.6 key passes per game and 54% successful dribbles (1.4 per game).
He’s a good ball carrier that provides a goal scoring threat that also has international and European experience. Rangers could do much worse than him on a free.
Anwar El Ghazi – Probably a more familiar name to most due to his time at Aston Villa. He was also recently on the bench for PSV in both fixtures against Rangers. That’s why I was surprised that he was released.
Last season in the Eredivisie he scored 8 goals in 23 appearances (12 starts). That game out at a goal every 148 minutes which is great for a winger. Capable of playing on either side he’s another good ball carrier with great dribbling ability.
Having recently turned 28 he’s in the midst of his prime. Again, Rangers could do much worse than him on a free.
If Michael Beale decides to go with wide players after the international break he doesn’t have a plethora of options to choose from. This change could make him regret not strengthening this area in the summer window.
That being said, maybe he’ll continue to rely on the fullbacks for width or maybe try three at the back with two wing backs?
There’s still another week to go till Rangers are back. Let’s hope the work being done on the training ground can translate into positive results and performances.
What formation would you like to see and who do you think deserves more game time?
ICYMI you can read yesterdays article on Danilo here.