When Rangers were linked to Portuguese winger Daniel Candeias, Ibrox Noise’s very own Richard justifiably wondered why on earth we were making a move in his direction.
Nothing about Candeias’ previous career stood out as anything better than what we already had, and the fee for his services was said to be well in excess of £1M.
While a four-season Benfica veteran, sadly the 29-year old had never even made an appearance as sub for the Portuguese giants, far less started for them, with loan spells dominating his CV.
Indeed, not only had he spent 48 months in Lisbon, but he had started out in his professional career for their great rivals Porto with just four appearances to speak of before switching to Nacional.
And even at Alvinegros he found himself loaned out again – but after impressing at Portimonense he finally became a regular at his parent club amassing almost 100 appearances.
But as mentioned, his switch to Lisbon saw yet more loan spells and by the time Rangers moved for him, few fans could fathom why.
But the truth is while some of this summer’s signings have disappointed, such as Eduardo Herrera and Dalcio, Daniel Candeias has been a refreshing example of a good player, with a good heart, who plays the game in the right spirits and completely justifies his manager’s faith in him.
He is not Arjen Robben, and Rangers have had better players in the past, but Candeias has steadily got more and more reliable, impressive and ‘untouchable’ on that right wing.
He has proven to be a shrewd signing and is proving his doubters, such as our very own Richard, wrong about his merits – his crossing has grown in accuracy, his confidence has followed, and he shows hard work and ability, determination not to waste his chance.
Candeias looks like he is a player reborn – he is playing at a club as big as Benfica, Porto and the like – maybe bias but Rangers are arguably bigger. Not as good, right now, we accept that, but certainly in size, of similar gravity. And Candeias evidently looks like a player determined to cement his place at a club of our size having not quite done it before now.
And we are reaping the benefits of that. His cross-goal pile-driver yesterday should have been a goal but for a fine save, and the passion and grit on his face after coming so close is the kind of heart we need to see at this club.
We do not pretend he is the best player we have ever seen – but he is a player to admire, respect, and appreciate for what he gives to the team. Daniel Candeias is a pure team player and capable of being individually handy down the right as well.
He has grown in stature with every match and now looks like one of the first names on the team sheet and we are glad to see him flourish.
Did we mention he takes a hell of a free kick too?