Rangers interested in £6M LB? We look at Gijs Smal

Rangers interested in £6M LB? We look at Gijs Smal
GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - JULY 22: Gijs Smal of Enschede challenges Kenan Karaman of Schalke (L) during the pre-season friendly match between FC Schalke 04 and FC Twente at Veltins Arena on July 22, 2023 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

So we don’t know just how serious Rangers’ interest in FC Twente’s Gijs Smal actually is, but with Turkey’s Ridvan Yilmaz seemingly putting the finishing touches to an exit to Hellas Verona, Rangers absolutely require to replace him.

The Dutch left back seems to be the most prominent name for that position of all the stories so far, so Ibrox Noise wanted to have a proper look at him and so why manager Philippe Clement may be keen on him.

He’s 26, so he has some suitable experience under his belt, and he’s made 89 appearances in the Eredivisie, with last season being his proper breakthrough into the top level of European football.

Left back, with 2 goals and 10 assists in 34 appearances for Twente. And yes, that’s better than any single season in the entire careers of either Borna Barisic or Ridvan Yilmaz.

And in the case of both of them, this is at a higher level than Rangers’ current two options.

He did, unfortunately suffer an injury in the summer, which laid him out for two months, and has been seeking some form this season which, so far, may have eluded him a little – he has no assists or goals this campaign in 10 club appearances.

But we’ve looked a little into his game and here’s what we’ve found:

Average passer of the ball – he is simply not great at the accurate passing. He regularly hits about 65% passing accuracy which falls significantly short of the needed level. That’s something he’d need to work on.

He also just isn’t a crosser – this is not an attacking fullback of the ilk of Yilmaz or Barisic, he spends most of the game in his own half.

And that’s the kind of FB he is – he is defensive, and he works more on stopping the opponent than creating a lot. Technically he’s strong, he’s positionally good, and he’s aware, reads the game very well indeed.

And according to Total Football Analysis:

“Gijs Smal is undoubtedly one of the products in the left-back position with the best present and future in the Netherlands given his incredible contribution to his team’s possessions. Not only that but also his intelligence, maturity and technique with which he gets things done, plus the number of resources he can bring to different coaches and teams in the world, as well as at this moment in Twente. With things to improve defensively, he still in general terms remains an extremely complete full-back.”

A bit vague in truth, but certainly not bad.

We do think his biggest hamstring right now was that summer injury – he’s not quite back to sharp form just yet, but if he is one we want and Clement brings him in, we doubt it would take long to get him to his best.

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