So the worst-kept secret (after Danilo that is) was confirmed on Thursday after Rangers finally announced José Adoni Cifuentes (to give the lad his full name) as Michael Beale’s 9th summer signing.
There is no question this is absolutely a 100% marquee addition – Cifuentes is an Ecuador international valued at £12M, who Rangers got for a penny thanks to Bosman rules, and he is 100% the final piece of Michael Beale’s midfield jigsaw.
Beale’s central area going forward will be Raskin, Cifuentes and Cantwell, and incredibly, going by peak market values, that’s a £65M midfield (Cantwell’s peak value was £40M back in his Norwich days).
But of course market values mean sod all when it comes to performance – look at £40M Aaron Ramsey and £40M Amad Diallo. £80M and a complete disaster as Rangers players.
But nevertheless anyone who thinks Beale doesn’t intend to play all three of his star midfield signings must explain their logic to us, because he’s put the boat out to get Cifuentes especially and that lad will 100% play.
But what kind of player is he?
Put simply he’s a powerhouse midfielder – he is fundamentally a CM, something we completely lack, who can play as much as a Gazza as he can as a Barry. He’s a strong, robust, and powerful midfielder and he’s a massive coup.
Now, normally when Rangers get a player this good we call it a game-changer – we exalt the player’s virtues and explain to you how we’re ready for the Champions League and a serious fist at 56.
Not this time. Not with the defence we currently have.
We have potentially outstanding middle to front, but our defence has been, frankly, pitifully neglected, with just three additions of 9 being defensive. While Ibrox Noise offered our solution to this, that’s only our call – it’s Michael Beale who hasn’t done sweet FA about fixing the rearguard.
So any excitement we have over a quality player like Cifuentes putting his signature where it counts is tempered by Rangers’ Achilles heel at the back.
If we see the backline fixed too, and a solid lineup being picked for Killie, we might believe this manager is capable of learning from his past errors there.
But if we see Tavernier, Goldson, Davies and Barisic or the like line up instead, it doesn’t matter if we’ve got Cifuentes in front of them or Ronaldo himself.
We are already hamstrung before we even start.
That said, we ARE happy with Cifuentes, and welcome him warmly to Rangers. Hopefully his decision is vindicated with a defence which does his work justice.