Monday, 3 June 2019

Big read - Steven Gerrard signing report card


With Steven Gerrard’s maiden season in management now complete, there are no more excuses about rookie inexperience. While it’s just 12 months, it’s still a lot Gerrard has picked up and Rangers fans’ expectations next season are more concrete than the mere hopes we had last time around.

But one thing Stevie must get right in the interim is the summer transfer window. With Jake Hastie and Jordan Jones already secured, more will arrive, but it’s time to give a blow-by-blow assessment of last summer and winter and analyse the successes, failures, and overall judgement of how SG did, signings-wise, in his first season.

This is a big one so hang onto your hats…

Let’s start at the beginning:

Allan McGregor:

The first signing of the Stevie era, McGregor, bizarre indiscipline aside, has been stellar. A wonderful goalkeeper and still one of the best in the UK, Scotland are a far weaker NT for his retirement. But, the caveat is this was not a Gerrard signing, but merely an approved one. So, it’s hard to fully credit Stevie with the success of this capture. 9

Scott Arfield:

Became more critically important as the season wore on, and Ibrox Noise makes no apology for being right behind this guy from the word go and waxing lyrical throughout, even in the face of some criticism. Arfield’s performances from December onwards justified our stance and the Canada international, overall, is probably our best and most important player. But, again, he was not a Stevie man – brought in before Gerrard was finalised, it was simply Stevie’s approval again. But still, superb signing anyway. 10

Connor Goldson:

This probably was more of a Gerrard signing, we think, and it sure took a while to go through, but Goldson, after a silky smooth start where he looked on the level with a Carlos Cuellar in his pomp, struggled at Rugby Park then Motherwell, and truly, while rarely horrible (he still was, once or twice), never really convinced thereafter. He’s not terribly physical, has dire ball distribution, doesn’t dominate in the air enough, and rarely tackles. He also cost £3M and we can’t say he’s really seemed worth that. He’s far from awful but he’s just not got it, for us. 6

Nikola Katic:

No one really knew him, but when he joined he described how he loved the physical battles in football and the aerial ones especially – and once he’d turned out for us we could see why. A real unit of a boy, he still finds himself learning the game and makes inexperienced errors, but his heart is massive and he puts himself in the pain for his team. He isn’t the most technical, but for pure physical brute force defending he’s really solid. 8

Joe Worrall:


Such a divisive boy, he nicked Katic’s place as soon as he joined and became quite unpopular for that. Prone to gaffes and lapses in judgement, but his critical last-ditch defending and blocks were numerous. Statistically Worrall was considerably superior to Katic, but he lacked the heart except in the big matches. Anyway, he wasn’t even our player, but in truth he did ok for the most part. But few fans would ever want to see him back anyway. 6

Jon Flanagan:


Started out good at LB, very good, but faded quite badly following a few error-strewn matches, and lost his place to a combination of Andy Halliday and Borna Barisic. He took until the split to actually recover from this, but played very well indeed on his return. Except when for Killie, Stevie put him back to RB and he was a fish out of water again. Overall, he did mostly well enough, even if he was on the periphery most of the season. 7

Borna Barisic:

After his performances against us for Osijek we even advocated this signing on the site, but weren’t we all just so horribly wrong? Despite being a Croat international and seemingly having an incredible left foot, Barisic had the heart of a mouse and the physical strength of a house of cards. Couldn’t beat a man in attack, couldn’t defend much, and managed only 3 SPL assists in 14 attempts. Just a truly feeble signing and a bad use of £2M. 2

Glen Kamara:


A bargain, in truth, Kamara is a player still learning the game in a very important position, but the 23-year old Fin has a tonne of potential and plenty of confidence. He has a lovely touch, superb composure, and quick thinking. He isn’t the most physical, or the quickest in pace, but he uses what he does have rather well. He does need to cut out the lapses in concentration – the boy can be far, far too laid back and it’s cost Rangers goals already this season. But still, good signing overall and had a brilliant Old Firm. 8

Steven Davis:

Terrible horrific start for the NI man, as he struggled with fitness and the speed of the game. But the switch of position to the deep lying playmaker worked wonders for him and he looked a different player in the split. Took him a while to get to where he needed to be, but he’s ended up a fantastic signing. 9

Jermain Defoe:

Isn’t the most dynamic striker, and lacks a lot of attributes prolific 9’s have, but he makes up for it by being the most gifted natural finisher at Ibrox, and probably in Scotland. His conversation rate is excellent, and while he isn’t going to win much in the air or make many big dribbles, he will score score score. He does have a strange tendency to make some brain burp decisions, such as inexplicably punching goalkeepers or weirdly kicking folk, but hey, a little needle never hurt anyone (much). 8

Ryan Kent:

This is a strange one. Kent had an awful start to life at Ibrox – he wasn’t in the zone and took a long long time to get up to speed, but his performance against Celtic made him. No, not that one – the one we lost at Parkhead last year. He was the only Rangers player to show up, and it showed he had the stomach for a fight. His display at Ibrox though, following the amazing displays v Hearts and Rapid was just astonishing. But he did show inconsistency, and wildly. He could often be staggering, but equally ineffective. But the split did show his importance and Rangers missed him hugely for his suspension. He’s gone now, but overall the good outweighed the not so great. 8

Ovie Ejaria:

Didn’t want to be here, and it showed. The most reluctant player Rangers have had since Stephane Guivarc’h (look him up kids) Ejaria just didn’t enjoy being at Ibrox and looked miserable the whole time. Had good composure on the ball, and physical strength, but not much else, and Stevie had a weird blind spot to him, consistently choosing him. He just didn’t offer anything. 4

Eros Grezda:

One good performance v 10-man Motherwell aside, this was a hopeless waste of £2M and a truly bad, bad signing. Misguided capture on false pretences, it just shouldn’t have happened. 0

Matt Polster:


Yes, did you forget we signed this guy? Spent half a year at Ibrox and did absolutely nothing. Has to be called out as a total failure so far. 0

Jamie Murphy:


He’s a good squad player, and adds balance while delivering composed dribbles, but that injury at Killie ruined him and we fear time has passed him by now. Hard to rate him but given value for money (at around £600K we believe) it’s got to be unfortunately low. But we’ll say N/A for a rating here.

Lassana Coulibaly:

After that bright start he faded so horribly, and that’s all we have to say on him. 3

Umar Sadiq:

Goodness me. What a genuinely diabolical signing this ended up as. We’d argue this is up there with Jeffers, Ostenstad and Bernard. 0

Gareth McAuley:

No clue why Stevie didn’t fancy this guy after working so hard to get him, but he didn’t – weird, because he made Connor Goldson look a player. And by that we mean he raised his partner’s game and led well. Rangers looked pretty solid with McAuley at the back, but he just didn’t feature at all after a certain point, injury notwithstanding. 5

Kyle Lafferty:


Solid enough start but faded quick, Lafferty was a waste of £700K although he’ll argue he didn’t get enough chances. True, he probably didn’t, but then Jermain Defoe didn’t for long enough either and the second he got one he took it. Best Kyle could do was a goal at Cowdenbeath. Just not good enough and he appears on his way out. 3

So… a whole bunch of players, around £10M+ spent, a lot of loans and a lot of frees.

Verdict:

Paid transfers:


The money spent, mostly, was completely wasted. Only Katic and Kamara appear to have been value for the outlay. Goldson, Barisic, Grezda, Lafferty and Murphy, for whatever reasons, were just not good investments for the return gained. On the money spent we’d have to give Stevie 2/10

Loans:

Heavy use of this market was made, and four of them ‘worked out’ in that they played ok to well for us. Only Davis really worked out as a signing and he was always going to stay anyway. Defoe could too given the unique status of his loan contract. Worrall was alright, Kent was sporadically incredible, and the rest were garbage. 5/10

Frees:


This is where some of the best stuff happened. Arfield and McGregor were stand out signings, sadly Gareth McAuley wasn’t really allowed to join them while Polster has been a waste of time. But Jon Flanagan overall was useful indeed. 7/10

Overall:

Gerrard did poorly with the budget he had, in terms of what he spent it on, but he was a bit better when it came to loans and frees. He will want to spend money a lot more wisely this summer, while making better use of the loan market too. Overall he can be happy enough with his hit rate, but there’s plenty room for improvement.

8 comments:

  1. Must be watching a different team. Goldson will be our main man at the back for years to come. Polster was signed Injured and was always said he was for next season. And lafferty .. well where do u start everyone expected him to hit it running but his own troubles off the pitch has been his problem

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    1. Polster was NOT signed injured. Nor did anyone say he was for next season. You literally just made that up.

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    2. U better go look that up he had had a knee injury and had been out almost all of 2018 cause of it and wasn’t back to full training before signing and has spent time in rehabilitation once with us. Gerard had even said it in one interview that he wasn’t available cause of it. All you see if this page putting the boot into everything rangers and are so called fans. No wonder loads don’t like the stuff out here cause it’s all negative

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    3. Polster was NOT injured when he arrived. He was unfit because the season in the MLS didn't tally up with our own and Stevie described how he'd need a few weeks to get up to speed with the climate change. He WAS injured in 2018, but you'll need to look at the date because this is 2019. Also, he wasn't available later on because he got injured in the warm up before a Dundee match and had to pull out of the starting XI prior to kick off. That was to be his debut. Thought he was injured before that? And people are free to like or dislike our content. We make no apology for being positive, negative or anything else. 'All negative' - we've been bigging up Lawrence Shankland and defending Steven Gerrard from media attacks in the past 12 hours. You clearly have a different definition of the word 'negative'.

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  2. How on earth is polster gonna get into the team over probably one of our best payers and captain in tavernier and were even would he feature in our midfield he was brought as a squad player at best , and why the total dislike for goldson even though our defence conceded have the amount of goals it did last season and the guy has not even played a full season in over three years always so negative get a grip

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  3. I think a lot of SGs signings were done without considering the Scottish game and physicality. Its not just SG that's had a year to settle in and learn its the likes of Goldson, Katic, Flannigan that now have as well (2 of these guys had not played competitive football for a while). Polster i still think was signed as they thought Tav would be off. We wont know until the window closes what comes of Barisic and Gradza, still think Barisic will come good.

    Arfield and MacGregor were the established players that had already played in Scotland for a number of years before and knew what they were getting in to, coincidence they had the high scores along with Kamara? Laffery the exception to this but agree he didn't get a propper run as he could play with Morelos and i don't think his head was right after the NI NT issue.

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  4. Don't be negative with your posts you get accused of being a Celtic supporter and you must always agree with IN remember no negatives unless you want barred.

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    1. Last time we'll ever publish you Scud. You weren't negative, you outed yourself as a Celtic supporter by complete mistake. You talked about 'a Rangers' downfall' as 'your' - now, last piece of attention you're getting. Jog on.

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