Rangers have emerged as a resurgent Scottish force once more under Steven Gerrard’s tutelage and are now closing the gap at the top with mighty rivals Celtic to stay in the title hunt, unlike the past two campaigns. A string of new signings have been made by the former Liverpool great, and a successful reconstruction is clearly in sight despite months of football left before a predicted nail-biting culmination.
Umar Sadiq, one of his summers recruits, however, failed miserably in the most crucial minutes of his Rangers stint and is now being speculated to be sent back to his parent club AS Roma midway through his season-long loan spell. Gerrard previously asked Sadiq to improve ‘everything‘ to stand a chance of making it to the first team but a shocking dive against Aberdeen in the dying moments cost the Gers as well as the player himself in Scottish League Cup semi-final tie.
The 21-year-old Nigerian was one-on-one against Joe Lewis but tried to win a cheap spot-kick after beating past the Dons custodian, and Sadiq’s remissness made the gaffer furious enough to omit him from first-team plans. Although the Bears are well-equipped upfront with Alfredo Morelos and Kyle Lafferty as centre-forward options, they might still look out for a replacement of Sadiq when the window will reopen.
But the Rangers chief has options in youth ranks and should promote academy sensation Andrew Dallas as a sporadic first-team option following a spectacular start for the U20s this season. The 19-year-old has netted 14 goals in his last 13 games and is now desperate to earn the manager’s attention to fulfil his Ibrox dreams.
“Sometimes it can be harder for a young forward to get into the first team but it is about doing the right things in the Reserve games and hopefully you catch the manager’s eye and you get your shot.”
Gerrard would love to sanction a few more incomings to challenge Celtic’s monopoly but, at the same time, should chase the right names who would meet the priorities. Signing a centre-forward is not a necessity right now despite Sadiq’s exile and the likes of Dapo Mebude and Serge Atakayi are also there in reserves who are being included in matchday squads of late.
Dallas, meanwhile, would be a like-for-like replacement of the flop Nigerian and his blistering form should excite the Light Blues boss who is not afraid of fostering youngsters. A busy schedule in December might make the picture a little bit more clear from Gerrard’s perspective, however, promoting Dallas is within the bounds of possibility considering the reinforcement required in other areas.