The Daily Mail reported yesterday that Rangers were amongst a list of clubs closely watching 19-year-old Chicago Fire midfielder Brian Gutierrez. Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig are some of the other interested parties. The competition would be fierce on this one but it’s encouraging to see Rangers name in amongst these huge clubs while scouting potential targets.
This is the American’s fourth MLS season, which is incredible considering his age. He’s been highly rated since coming through the Chicago Fire academy. At this time, he’s already clocked up 74 first team appearances and, supposedly, has been in contention for recent USA squads.
Let’s look at his numbers for this season;
- 15 Appearances (12 Starts)
- 1 Key Pass Per Game
- 68% Long Pass Accuracy
- 64% Successful Dribbles (1.5 Per Game)
- 1.2 Tackles Per Game
- 57% Ground Duels Won (4.5 Per Game)
These are impressive numbers from the young midfielder. I’ve highlighted the long pass accuracy as even someone like Kevin De Bruyne only has 69% accuracy, showing how impressive his number is. Keeping with this comparison the Belgium superstar has 56% successful dribbles on less attempts per game, Gutierrez really is impressive in both categories.
Looking even deeper into the numbers, his ground duels won stands out. Comparing the numbers to Nicolas Raskin the American comes out on top. He wins more duels per game and at a better %. Raskin wins 3.6 per game at a 51% win rate, showing how impressive the young midfielders numbers are.
Most of this season he has split his playing time between left midfield and behind the striker. These positions allow him to have the most impact with his ability on the ball. Dribbling is one of his strongest assets as he always looks to drive at defences and beat the defender. Undoubtedly this is one of the main reasons he’s being watched by the big clubs in Europe. Equally important is his balance which allows his to beat opponents and stay on his feet. However, he is still rather lightweight and can be knocked off of the ball easily. While this is something he could improve upon it would be worth noting if he were, in fact, to come to the SPFL.
On one hand, he’s an excellent dribbler, on the other hand, he doesn’t get goals, sound familiar? Even though he’s a technically gifted dribbler and creator, he simply needs to add goals to his game. By all means, young players can add goal scoring to their game as they progress and mature. Equally, Rangers fans have been burned in this sense by Ryan Kent and his lack of goal scoring ability. Fans waited patiently hoping he would eventually become a goal scorer but, surprisingly, the English winger never became a better finisher. Therefore fans will have some reservations about a non goal scoring winger/attacking midfielder arriving again.
It must be remembered that he is only 19-years-old so there’s plenty of time for him to add to his game and develop. There is huge potential here and this would be a coup, price dependant, if Rangers could bring him in.
How Likely is Brian Gutierrez to Rangers?
At this current time, Rangers only appear to be looking over the midfielder. With interest from clubs such as Manchester United and Dortmund, it would be an uphill battle to convince the young American to come to Ibrox.
One thing Rangers could offer immediately is a better chance of regular first team football. There’s also the benefit of guaranteed European Group Stage football, at least until Christmas. In reality, Rangers wouldn’t be able to offer the financial packages these other giants can, that’s why this one could be mostly player dependant.
If his goal is to come to Europe, play regularly and compete on the big European stage then Rangers represent an excellent option. Time will tell on this one as no bids have been made for him yet and the wings are somewhere Rangers need to invest in. This transfer would be an indicator of a continuation of the player trading model. A player this highly thought of would only increase in value.
If this is a deal Rangers can do, it makes sense on the pitch and off the pitch.