Debate: has marquee summer signing delivered or disappointed?


The site received a very interesting comment recently from Ibrox Noise regular, Blue Blue:

“I may be the only one but for me the biggest disappointment so far is Bruno Alves. He was culpable at both goals on Friday (v Partick). He looks like he thinks this is all very easy and he doesn’t need to work too hard. I think the full backs are a question mark but I expected more from Alves. He should be managing the entire back 4 giving them clear direction minute by minute (or moment by moment as PC would say).
We should be getting much more out of this top professional.”

Now, before I go any further, I have a huge amount of admiration and respect for Bruno – he is a top defender and you do not have the career he has had without being quite the stopper. This is a Portuguese stalwart, who has won the European Championships with his country and has enjoyed excellent spells at Porto, Fenerbahce and Zenit, to name just three, and his signing was a big coup and one which inspired most fans.

However, while we have been critical of the defence, we have tried not to pick on Alves (who can stand up for himself just fine thank you) because of the calibre of the defender he is.

But we have admitted we have been infinitely more impressed by his partner Fabio Cardoso than we have by him.

Blue here makes a claim that Alves is not working hard enough, leading well enough, or organising too well either. And going by the defensive frailties we have seen this season so far, it is hard to completely disagree with this assertion.

We have faced 17 shots on goal, and nine of them have gone in. This is a concerning statistic, and while we are not blaming one man for it, there is little doubt in our minds that as yet, we have not seen the real Bruno Alves.

It is early in the season, and there is plenty time for the veteran to improve, but when we signed him we expected the dominant colossus he has been for other clubs and his country. Instead, so far, whether it is the culture or the style of football, he just does not seem to have quite grasped his new surroundings nor dominated Rangers’ defence in the way we expected.

All the work we have seen from Cardoso, from pressing, harrying, covering, and heading has been infinitely less from his countryman counterpart.

Every time someone comes down the left we see Cardoso with his hands behind his back trying to block a cross to cover for Tavernier, albeit last night’s display did see the Portuguese more exposed than usual. On the other side, it is rare to see Alves covering Lee Wallace or, more recently, Declan John in a similar way.

And the ultimate criticism we can reluctantly make of the big man is that Ross McRorie performed much, much better than he did last night – the youngster made a far better partnership with Fabio Cardoso, and Conor Sammon’s ridiculous influence on the match disappeared once Alves was off. Whether Pedro will elect to start the impressive youngster on Saturday is another matter.

We are not trying to smear Alves – he is a class player and we know that. We just do not feel we have yet seen it at Ibrox. If calling this out makes us evil beyond contempt and gets us a tonne of abuse, so be it.

We cannot wait till the guy gets up to speed – it did not take Carlos Cuellar, David Weir or even Madjid Bougherra too long to show their quality. It does take some players longer though.

And with the Old Firm test coming up too, sooner rather than later would be better in Alves’ case – assuming, that is, he gets passed fit.

And that is what we look forward to. But for now, we have to admit we are not yet impressed by Bruno Alves.



  1. Cardoso did look better in the latter stages of the game, but they were caught out with a tactic used against us many times last year and the the end of the year before, when the physical striker peels off to the back post and goes up against Tav in the air to win an easy duel.
    I'm sure if fit, Bruno will not let the side down on Saturday. Admittedly, he will need to bolster whoever plays left back though, that's where the game could be won or lost.
    But they are beatable and need to be pressed for ninety minutes. They are not to keen on that.
    If we drop off the pace like the last twenty minutes last night, it might be a long day.

  2. Young Ross was solid on the ground and in the air.
    Well impressed with John last nite also he's explosive my man of the match.
    Pena must start before Kenny, still not up to speed but his link play with El Buffalo will get us plenty goals.Herrera also getting there again needs match time.
    Need a big performance from them all Saturday,

  3. Bruno's used to better calaber of player a around him. Maybe it's easier with a team full of winners – Portugal

  4. If we don't play 3 centre backs, we will be in trouble against Celtic.

    Tavernier is not a right back, he is a wing-back or out of the team.

    Declan John had an excellent game last night and would also benefit from playing with a back 3.

    He causes goals against us in almost every game – he is crap in the air.

  5. Agree with Martin. Alves can be too lackadaisical at times. McCrorie, on the other hand, was first rate when he came on and gave Sammon no change thereafter.
    Also agree with Robbie – ALL the players on Saturday need to be on top form. But look at the positives :- Pena improving (what a great header); Candeias scored a great goal (we'll gloss over the misses); Herrera very cute with his goal; Declan John, if fit, should replace Windass (complete waste of a jersey) and Hodson goes in at LB; Miller to be on the bench (but what are the chances as he seems to be Pedro's best mate). Going to stick my neck out but I think we could be in with a shout on Saturday (hope I'm not proved wrong). C'mon the Gers.

  6. Was very impressed with John and Young Mc Crorie …Windass was poor again not sure what this lad wants to do , he is not a winger defo but lacks the aggression and drive to be an effective midfielder I get frustrated at his lack of desire Look at Sore and drive and determination to the last minute last night . If we can stop the Rotten Mob playing that v formation of Roberts Sinclair Griffiths and Armstrong we may have a chance …Morelos will cause them problems for sure and maybe Penn's will love the big game atmosphere …MON THE GERS WATP

  7. Glad you think like me Bruno is coming up a bit short. I thought that Cardoso actually played better when Bruno went off last night. He seemed to take more responsibility for himself. You McCrorie looked terrific and confident and if required I'd play him Saturday. However, were is Danny Wilson, why is he not even making it on to the bench last night?

    Hate to be controversial again but I would play Millar from the start. His experience in this contest make him a must start for me. I know he's had a slow start but lets remember how him and Clint Hill carried the team last year. I just think it maybe too early for Pena. Last night he did start to show what kind of player he could become and what a wonderful goal.

    Declan John looks like a useful young lad, my man of the match for the 90 mins.

    Windass on the other hand is going to run out of opportunities with the first team. He is alway to slow off the mark and arrives too late to the ball. He missed a sitter last night and seems to lack confidence and runs out of steam. Not sure he is going to make it at the Rangers

    As for Saturday…over to you Pedro, just don't lose.

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