Glasgow Rangers were busier than previously expected in the winter transfer window but their inability to shift Greg Stewart may represent a significant blow.
Stewart has fallen out of favour under Rangers manager Steven Gerrard and the 30-year-old has failed to make a single Scottish Premiership appearance for the 54-time Scottish champions since the start of the new year – in fact, he’s played just four minutes of soccer in the league for the entire season.
But what if they were able to sign an immediate upgrade?
In Oostende striker Fashion Sakala, Rangers have a transfer target who is capable of being exactly that.
With Sakala’s contract reportedly set to expire in the summer, the Zambian international has found himself at the top of Gerrard’s summer shopping list according to The Daily Record.
And now, they appear to be given a further boost in their pursuit of the forward after his club’s sporting director revealed that his agent is “no longer responding to our offers”.
His former teammate Toby Sibbick has recently expressed his admiration for the 5 foot 10 striker, saying: “I’m sure Fashion would be a great addition for Rangers.
“Fashion has a lot of pace and is direct on the ball.
“He can play as the main striker but also out wide and I know having played against Rangers last season they play with a front three so he can fill in on either wing because he likes to get on the ball and beat players one on one.
“He is quite tricky as well and is good in front of goal with the ability to finish with both feet, there’s no issue with that.
“He is powerful – not necessarily tall – but strong and quick so there’s a lot to his game.”
But how would he benefit the Light Blues if he joined?
We’ve previously spoken at length about his ability to find the back of the net, but it’s fair to say that he offers so much more than that.
In his last season alone, the 23-year-old has shown that he poses a great counter-attacking threat, as evidenced in his 1.1 dribbles per 90 during his time with Oostende in the Jupiler Pro League. A 57% success rate suggests that he is, on the whole, just as adept at bringing the ball forward and setting his side on the front foot.
A lively, powerful and energetic dribbler as well as being clinical inside the box, his work on the outside of it is equally impressive and should not, therefore, be left to go unnoticed.
His impressive passing stats, with 1.1 key passes per game, has shown that he is capable of controlling the ball and bringing others into play, and has got the creativity and guile to be a facilitator for his teammates – only Morelos out of Rangers’ existing forward options matches his tally.
Despite his duties primarily being preoccupied with leading the line, Sakala is also still chipping in with 17.3 passes at a completion rate of 72.3%, which suggests that, more often than not, he is successful at finding his teammates. With that in mind, he could allow Rangers to play on the counter attack more often and give them that extra cutting edge.
And, with Stewart’s contract at Ibrox coming to an end in the summer, and the fact that reports suggested the Gers were looking to move him in on the January transfer window, Sakala’s arrival would allow Gerrard to wave goodbye to Stewart.
Given Stewart’s measly record of just three goals in 29 games for the Gers, it’s fair to say he hasn’t really been a success of a signing for the club. But, Wilson can end his misery at Ibrox by letting him walk away on a free, and boost Gerrard’s striking options by bringing in Sakala.
AND in other news, Ross Wilson must secure the future of Rangers centre-back Leon Balogun…