As Rangers fans know only too well now, January will see some critical additions to a squad which has flirted with competence this season while at times sinking into some very poor performances as well.
It has been reported that Steven Gerrard, as well as a defender, midfielder and striker, is looking for a new creative playmaker to ignite a bit of spark up front and provide the craft that Graham Dorrans might have been able to furnish.
Fans will know Ovie Ejaria, while doing quite in general, has been unable to produce much in the way of telling contributions in the final third, so Gerrard clearly seeks someone who can.
However, there is someone on the payroll who, if Rangers were to finally get him to settle, to finally produce the quality we saw in glimpses last season, might just finally start to pay back the reported £3.2M fee Rangers shelled out for him:
Now, before you chuckle at the back, in brief spells Carlos Pena did produce some excellent technical football, some quality touches and visions, clever use of the ball, and crucially, goals.
His mental health issues are well-documented and admittedly his loan at Necaxa hasn’t gone terribly well (albeit he’s played out of position in nearly every appearance), but with Steven Gerrard not on a king’s ransom with regards budget this winter, could Carlos Pena’s creativity be worth hauling back to Govan if the guy can get the off-pitch support he clearly needs?
Rangers shelled out a lot of money for this player, and he’s regarded as good enough to play for his national side 19 times, and while we accept it’s a long shot, we saw, fleetingly, enough from Pena to suggest there is a player in there.
It’s whether we want to get that player out and delivering on the pitch.
It might be worth considering, because the alternative is loaning him out, paying his wages, and waiting till May 2020 before we can free him without cost.
Unlike Niko Kranjcar Carlos Pena’s problems are not physical – they’re mental. And again, perhaps some psychological support could be useful as it may with Eros Grezda. And if Rangers can do that, and consider it worth it, Pena could actually turn out belatedly like a new signing for Steven Gerrard next calendar year.
Crazier things have happened.
NB: this article was written only hours prior to today’s breaking news about Pena’s loan being cancelled and his impending return.