Rangers star Jose Cifuentes is getting some unfair flack

Rangers star Jose Cifuentes is getting some unfair flack
Real Betis' Spanish midfielder #21 Marc Roca fights for the ball with Rangers' Ecuadorian midfielder #15 Jose Cifuentes during the UEFA Europa League group C football match between Glasgow Rangers and Real Betis at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland, on September 21, 2023. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

We’ve barely discussed José Adoni Cifuentes Charcopa at all on Ibrox Noise, the Ecuador international coming to Ibrox in a blaze of hype and publicity this summer following his massively protracted move from LAFC.

His debut?

Impressive. Facing Servette at Ibrox, he got his 15 minutes at the end – strength, power, pace, and clear quality was in evidence as he barged opponents and bullied them. He looked, albeit way too short a timeframe, like a serious acquisition and could be a major midfielder for us.

He looked solid in his next few outings but unfortunately he didn’t quite click yet with the rest of the team. While his passing was excellent and he was seeing a lot of movement off the ball and finding it, there didn’t seem to be a lot of communication (not surprising given his language is Spanish) and he wasn’t exerting himself on the matches.

Which is ok, because he was new.

And then he disappeared from the frontline almost completely amid claims he was making a ‘slow start’.

So how do we sum up where this 24-year-old is now.

He was ok v Betis, it wasn’t a massive performance but it was another solid one, a strong start, fading out a bit then coming back in the second half to be big again.

And this probably sums the lad up – he is absolutely top class, there is no doubt how good a player Jose is, he’s probably the best midfielder Rangers have had for his kind of position since Barry Ferguson.

He’s not big, but Barry wasn’t either – he’s strong, quick, sharp, accurate, powerful and has an excellent range on him. He can also dictate play at times.

If we take his fully-fledged league debut v Livi, the numbers are good:

Two shots, a key pass, 85% passing, 5 long balls (3 accurate).

Then v Betis on Thursday?

A key pass, 90% passing, 2 dribbles, 5 clearances, 2 tackles and an interception, not to mention 4 long balls and 2 accurate.

It’s very, very strong numbers.

But he’s not quite gelled yet fully with the others, and this has seen him dip out of the front lines a bit along with going on big international breaks as well.

And that’s also ok. We don’t really agree with Michael Beale that the boy is ‘ready to go’.

He is absolutely match fit, 100%, but he’s not in tune with the rest completely yet, not quite ingrained himself on the team yet. But the numbers already are great.

And yet when he is totally in tune, when that happens, there is no question he’ll be a top player in the peak Cantwell range of quality for the club.

His market value, according to transfermarkt, has dipped following his slow start at Ibrox – from €12M to €8.5M, but he just needs a run of some games to feel his full way into the side, and if he starts to get that, he’ll be an outstanding asset for the club.

Rangers worked like dogs to get Jose in, and over the coming weeks and months we look forward to seeing why.

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