Note: This article was exclusively done for the subscribers on Patreon on 28th June 2020. This is the original article on Patreon. The below article is reproduced from there.
It has been a strange transfer window for Rangers. Usually, fans are waiting on information to come out regarding transfers in the papers, but not this time around. After the permanent transfer of Hagi, neither of Rangers’ next two transfers were leaked ahead of time and caught the MSM by as much surprise as the fans. You can see that many in the media space are unhappy about it, but for me, that is a good thing. Time for free rides is over.
So it was no surprise that not many people believed the rumours of Rangers looking at Amiens midfielder Bongani Zungu. Nor can I blame them. France Football, the outlet reporting this story first is notorious for being unreliable with transfers and gets more things wrong than right. However, when the player himself liked a post where he was photoshopped with Steven Gerrard on Twitter, there was a right buzz.
Lerma (not a real name), an Amiens fan was quick to pour cold water on this. And it did not even take him a second. ”He’s done it before, you know.
”3 of the teams he was linked with it, he did this. Probably enjoys throwing you off with this. Malicieux.”
While admitting he would be sad to see the South African midfielder leave, there is no doubt in Lerma’s’ mind that Amiens needs the money, ”We are hopeful we will not be relegated. Court already told LFP it’s illegal to relegate us. They did it anyway. Hopefully, we get justice. But, we still need the money. This is not a big club like others in Europe.
”Many will not say it, but even if we stay on at Ligue 1, we need the money. He does not want to stay on; that is clear.”
Now, it was difficult to assess how much Amiens will accept for the player. According to a journalist who is close to the player, Strasbourg had an initial offer of €3.5m turned down. Apparently, the club wants €4.5m. However, that is quite an ask for a player that is almost confirmed to leave this summer.
It is known the player wants to play in Spain and his heart is set upon a move there. This is what the South African star said recently to GetFrenchFootballNews, ”I would love to play in Spain, in La Liga. I think the league is nice, the teams play football, and yeah I would like to hopefully get a club in Spain.”
In fact, speaking with Fabien W (another Amiens fans who have been on the frontlines with some other fans in trying to ensure the club are not relegated on PPG at the end of this season as he has waged a relentless campaign on social media over this), I got to know that the player is a massive enthusiast of sports cars and has quite a collection. On a more serious note, he added how the player had found a home at Amiens, ”It a small club, the calm environment is good to focus on football, it’s also not far from Paris. Foreigners players love to go there on weekends.”
However, it’s probably time to say goodbye. Be it Spain, Rangers or somewhere else. Fabien continued, ”Yes definitely wants to go. Last 31 st of January, he was about to sign at Mallorca in Spain (on loan with an option to buy).
“He left there one day and had to come back. He was pretty sad; he wanted a new experience. Finally, we couldn’t recruit à midfielder and had to keep him.”
Surely, this must have been a sore spot for him? I was curious as to how he went on. Fabien was absolutely on point here, ”Still professional, but it’s clear that it was hard to bear.”
Now, according to a source at the French club (this interview was conducted by someone else; language issues), the interest from Rangers is there. However, it is still to be determined how serious that interest is right now. As of now, there has been no official bid lodged from the club. Also, there is expected to be substantial interest from Spain.
”He is leaving. Only question is the fee. The club will sell, but Rangers have to step up soon as it is going to go down fast. Let’s see how far willing they are at this time.”
While we have all been briefed on Zungu’s strengths, I wanted to know more. While it could be argued that central midfield needn’t be a priority for Rangers, the fact remains that signing a top-quality player would only improve their chances. While everyone agrees he is a fairly technical player, the consensus is not really there when it comes to giving his all for the side.
Lerma though chalks it down to the injuries. The last big one was in the 2018-19 season when he was out for six months with cruciate ligament damage. These are the injuries you might even take a couple of seasons to recover from. Lerma was sympathetic about his condition, ”He is a fighter. This season, he went through a lot emotionally. Some whispers that he chokes on big occasions. That is not true. He is finding his foot after that horrific instance and every match he gives his all. His match against PSG proved his quality. He will be real good in a big team.”
Fabien concurs, ”it’s hard to be fully on shape after such an injury. He played better and better until we stopped.”
Also, I got to know that Bongani Zungu is a proper superstar in South Africa and one of the best players to have come out in recent times (think of the merchandising opportunities). However, for such a profile, he is more humble than expected.
Having spent €2m on the player, Amiens would be looking for a profit. The player is definitely gettable if Gerrard is confident enough that he would improve the first team. While there is a ‘risk’ element there with his signing, this could turn out to be a masterstroke in the end. After all, no one expected him to move to Amiens in the first place (thanks John Williams) at the time. Project France is over, now is the time for Rangers to make a move.
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