Oscar Cortes (nearly) completes Philippe Clement’s Rangers puzzle

Oscar Cortes (nearly) completes Philippe Clement’s Rangers puzzle
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Oscar Cortes of Rangers is seen during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Rangers FC and Livingston FC at Ibrox Stadium on February 03, 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Ibrox Noise earlier regaled our readers with a bit of shameless fawning over new recruit Oscar Cortes, who is probably the biggest ‘instant impact’ new signing at Rangers for a long time.

We can probably think back to Todd Cantwell last year for the last time a new signing had such an obvious and immediate effect on play, that his performances were that obvious and a step up in quality from the rest.

Jack Butland is perhaps another dark horse in this respect but he didn’t become truly noticeable till maybe 4 or 5 matches into his Rangers career – he never looked back after that.

But Cortes?

We’re struggling to remember the last player to have such a quick effect and look the part this fast.

And now we ask the question of where this leaves Rangers? What does it affect? How does it change things, if it does?

Well we now finally have wingplay – with Rabbi Matondo also starting to find a bit of form, and the hope Ross McCausland will step up a level in due course, Cortes absolutely completes the set.

We now have a winger pool with star man Cortes, Matondo, McCausland, and Wright in reserve, we suppose, even though the ex-Dons attacker is miles below the level needed.

So let’s have a look at the whole picture:

Goals is fine, Butland is one of the club’s prize assets, and we have him till summer at least, with it now looking very possible he’ll be selected by England. More on that later.

In defence, it’s good – even if most Rangers fans have chagrin over the complacency of Connor Goldson, or the ‘caught short’ James Tavernier at the back, the depth is there. Add Leon Balogun, John Souttar, Ben Davies, Ridvan Yilmaz and Borna Barisic and Rangers’ rearguard is really ok.

Midfield is great. John Lundstram, Ryan Jack, Dujon Sterling, and Nico Raskin are the options here, and that’s a good pool.

Attacking midfield is now a lot better – Todd Cantwell has had a kick up his backside by Mohammed Diomande, and Tom Lawrence is there too. This area looks way improved. More on this later as well.

Wings, we’ve already discussed. Much stronger now.

Up front is probably the weakest spot. Fabio Silva and Cyriel Dessers are not individually the answers, but pair together in rotation and combined they’re ok. They’re scoring and that’s what matters.

So overall, let’s look at what Ibrox Noise would suggest is our best XI:

Butland; Tavernier, Balogun, Souttar, Ridvan; Lundstram, Sterling; Matondo, Diomande, Cortes; Dessers.

Benched is McCrorie, Goldson, Barisic, Raskin, Jack, Cantwell, Lawrence, McCausland, Silva.

It’s not too bad now, is it?

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