As a matter of learning what we are getting in the form of Abdallah Sima, Ibrox Noise wants to avoid his bad form and injuries of the past two years, and see what he was like at some of his best.
Rangers fans best remember him in the doubleheader v Praha in that infamous clash in 2021, so we are going to take his performance in Prague that evening v Ryan Kent v Dortmund. Two nights in which these comparable wingers shone.
How well, or otherwise, did he compare with Kent?
3 key passes, 4 dribbles, fouls won 2, an assist, 44 touches and 82% passing level. He was rated 8.47 and outshone even Jude Bellingham.
1 key pass, 4 dribbles, 1 shot (off target), 43 touches, 67% passing. He was rated 7.67 and was the best rated player aside Lukas Provod.
While the two matches, of course, were very different, the fact is Kent significantly shades it here. His passing was far better in a high-pressure match, and he delivered better numbers and a better performance.
So how did Sima’s performances of that season’s group stage in the Europa League fare?
He wasn’t outstanding, that’s for sure, but he actually fared better in the groups than Kent did in that same season – Sima was the 21st best in group C for overall score, while Kent was 24th in Rangers’ group D. Both were in the upper 6s for score.
For key passes, a big deal in their position, he fares significantly better than Kent – 16th in his group, Kent down in 28th.
But in reality neither player shines at all in terms of raw data. Both are 13th and 14th for dribbles, and frankly both of them come up as average at that level but it’s passing where we’re genuinely a little concerned. Kent is in that ok enough 14th position, but Sima languishes way down in 59th.
So what does all this mean? Well, for comparable Europa League campaigns of that season, Kent and Sima both compare about the same – Sima is far better for key passes, where Kent is much better for basic passing.
Will Sima take Rangers to new heights? His existing career doesn’t point strictly to that, so we’ll look at last season in Ligue 1.
For all 607 players who took part in the campaign for all clubs, Sima’s stats place him 262th which is absolutely not horrible. In fact, for a league of this standard it’s decent for a side going down and a player on loan in it.
His attacking numbers read:
Goals 5, assists 1, shots per game 1.1, key passes 0.5, dribbles 0.6, 0.7 fouls won, disposed .9 and lost the ball 1.8
By a silly comparison, here’s Neymar:
Goals 13, assists 11, SPG 1.9, key passes 2.5, dribbles 1.9, 3.3 fouls won, dispossesed 1.9 and lost the ball 2.5
Of course Neymar is a world class superstar but Sima’s aren’t an absolute disgrace given the lowly Angers that he was with. Indeed, he actually lost the ball less than the Brazilian maestro.
The reality here?
Sima needs to find himself. There’s a player there but it’s inconsistent, and even at his best he didn’t significantly shine better than Ryan Kent did at that level in the Europa League.
Rangers need to nurture this guy and hope Michael Beale can find a way of getting overall better consistency and results, and improve his passing for sure, although Rangers fans can take some comfort that his passing was 233th best of those 607 players which, again, is reasonable.
Sima strikes us as, up to this point, a very average player who does nothing badly but shines in very few areas.
He’s not a top 10 player in anything he ever does, and he’s never dreadful either. If Beale can get the best from him, perhaps he will rise in stature and quality.
His only major strength of all this statistical analysis is that for key passes in the Europa League, he was modestly strong, that’s where he got his top 14 ranking. It still didn’t break into the top 10 like many of Rangers’ players during Sevilla, but it’s something.
So where does this leave us?
We have a player who may have some unearthed quality, but it’s down to Beale and Sima to take him to a new level.
Because his career up till now just doesn’t shine that brightly.