If one man at Ibrox has been a bit forgotten over the past year, it’s Romanian star Ianis Hagi. Stricken last January year by an appalling anterior cruciate ligament injury, the son of Real Madrid and Barcelona legend Gheorghe has found his recovery to be… belated.
His recent cameos on finally regaining running fitness and opposed training at Auchenhowie have been muted at best – the sharp mind the Romanian had is still there, but rusty, while the body was yards off the pace.
Hagi never had great pace for his position, the 10/winger role he adopts usually thriving off having pacy speed – many argue that lack of zippiness stopped Hagi jnr reaching the top of the game, and the problem he now has is the ACLI and surgery have decimated that even further.
The compounding problem he has is Rangers have several players, presently, ahead of him in the 10 slot.
Fit, Rangers have Todd Cantwell, Scott Arfield, Malik Tillman and Alex Lowry, to name but four, and Tom Lawrence waits in the wings as well.
In short, it’s a position we don’t grumble for choice in.
Hagi has recently attracted interest from other leagues, with several clubs looking at him, the most prominent being Spanish cracks Celta. But we’ve had sniffs of Sevilla, Real, Galatasaray and a host of Euro clubs said to be looking at him.
Is his time at Rangers done?
Well, he’s unlikely to return to his old self. Older Rangers fans will know how badly an ACLI affected the legendary Michael Mols, and Hagi is taking even longer to get back to his best.
So it probably is time for Rangers to cash in and sell him on for badly-needed funds this summer.
Time waits for no man, and very rarely does a severely injured player come back half the player he was, and prominent. The one advantage he has is with all the transition at Ibrox, he may be one Michael Beale actually wants to hold onto rather than ship out.
But we doubt it in truth.
Hagi is probably one of many who will exit this summer. If it’s to a sale, his new contract will look very wise indeed. Anything else and it’s another massive error.