According to Twitter rumours (yes they’re back!) the agent of 19-year-old Gambian centre back Dembo Saidykhan confirmed to Danish outlet tipsbladet that Rangers were amongst a number of clubs interested in the young defender. Other clubs supposedly on the list are Southampton, FC Nordsjælland and Toulouse, as confirmed by the below tweet;
If the rumour is true, Rangers are in decent company with those other linked sides. He currently plies his trade in Gambia for Steve Biko FC but impressed during the recent U20 World Cup. No rumoured fees have been mentioned but he’s unlikely to go for anything more than a six-figure fee, which could be a bargain in the long run.
Personally, I don’t have his league data at my disposal but these were his numbers from the aforementioned U20 World Cup;
- 4 Appearances (3 Starts)
- 1 Clean Sheet
- 1 Interception Per Game
- 1.5 Tackles Per Game
- 60% Ground Duels Won (2.2 Per Game)
- 50% Aerial Duels Won (0.8 Per Game)
- 61.2 Touches Per Game
- 89% Pass Accuracy
- 56% Long Pass Accuracy (3.8 Per Game)
A small sample size yes, but these stats tell us a few things. The first thing is that, defensively, he’s solid, he puts in a good number of tackles per game and wins a good amount of his ground duels. Aerially, winning 50% of duels isn’t too bad, particularly in a small sample size. According to Transfermarkt he stands at 6’1 so has the potential to aerially dominate.
What these stats also tell us is that he’s comfortable on the ball. For comparison, we all know how good on the ball John Souttar is. Well, he averaged just under 60 touches per game towards the end of last season. Dembo Saidykhan not only likes to receive the ball but is also an accomplished passer when on it. 56% long pass accuracy on 3.8 attempts per game is incredible. For reference, again, Connor Goldson averaged 56% accuracy last season (on 5.5 per game) but that shows you the level he’s capable of.
For me, these stats look very promising. Considering the price he would probably be available for, I think it’s one Rangers should look in to.
From the limited footage I’ve seen of Dembo Saidykhan, he still looks raw and rash at times. That being said, he has all the tools at his disposal to be a quality centre back one day. He’s tall, athletic and very comfortable in possession of the ball. Could he be another John Souttar?
The one thing that fans may be disappointed by, is that he’s a right footed option. Rangers fans are crying out for a left footed centre back who’s comfortable on the ball to cover the left side next to Goldson. Personally, I don’t think it’s a necessity and that Souttar should be playing there every time he’s fit. Do you think left sided centre backs need to be left footed?
As I said previously, if the rumoured clubs are all interested, Rangers are in very good company. Southampton, FC Nordsjælland and Toulouse have all been lauded for their scouting networks in the past, are Rangers finally catching up? What do you think of this deal? Do you want to see a project player arrive at Ibrox? Or would you demand someone who is ready now?