The Ecuador international is set to seal his immediate transfer to Rangers inside the next few days, with just some last-remaining red tape in visas and work permits to resolve, but it’s what Beale says about the type of player Cifuentes is that hints he believes he has Rangers’ long-awaited ‘regista’ in midfield.
Talking about the deal, Beale exalted the lad, naturally, but it was his comments that the boy was both an 8 and a 6 that stood out.
For those a little less versed in the meaning, 8 is where Todd Cantwell is strongest, and the club’s legend in that slot was Paul Gascoigne – in short, an attacking midfielder (trequartista) filled with creativity.
But a 6 is Barry Ferguson, a ‘regista’, which basically means orchestrator, deeper-lying playmaker, visionary, string-puller, dictator.
It’s absolutely something we have not had in any capacity since Ferguson left – Celtic have arguably had two titans in this slot, in Brown and McGregor, but Rangers lack anyone with that big presence in the middle of the park, pulling strings and putting their foot on the ball.
And Beale now hints majorly that Cifuentes is capable of this. At just 5ft 9 he’s not the biggest lad, albeit not a ‘shrimp’ by any means, and Barry himself is only 5 10 as well, but height is, pun not intended, a ‘bigger’ deal these days.
Nevertheless Beale is pinning his colours to the mast here – he wants a dominant midfield and a strong midfield – with a leader who can dictate.
We don’t have that at the moment – a lot of Indians and maybe not enough chiefs, and if Cifuentes can change that and control the play in there, all the better.
We know he’s a top player, maybe he is exactly what we need.