Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Rangers Reportedly Keen On This Bulgarian Attacker: Should They Rope Him In?

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

If a recent report from the Bulgarian outlet Tema Sport is believed to be true, Rangers are keeping close tabs on Ludogorets Razgrad attacker Kiril Despodov over a potential transfer swoop. But the Gers are not alone in the hunt as Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir are also keen on securing his services to bolster their attacking third.

The rumours have gathered pace over the past couple of days and a few traits of the 25-year-old have drawn our attention while analyzing his game. His flexibility across the frontline should enrich the Gers high up the pitch and the player, too, has shown his expertise with goals and assists following a homecoming from Cagliari.

Despodov progressed through the youth ranks of Litex Lovech and went on to make 50 senior appearances before joining CSKA Sofia back in January 2016. There he enjoyed a blistering spell and eventually earned a high-profile Serie A transfer three years ago for a record transfer fee of a local Bulgarian player (beating the iconic  Hristo Stoichkov’s $4.5m move to Barcelona).

However, his minutes were limited with the Islanders and the Italian outfit loaned him out to Sturm Graz for the 2019-20 term. An impressive stint saw him joining Ludogorets Razgrad next season on an initial loan (with an option to buy) and his numbers in attack played a key role in the Eagles commanding league triumph.

Ludogorets were prompt to make his move permanent ahead of the current campaign and Despodov, too, has maintained his prowess with 9 goals and 12 assists in 29 appearances (stats via Transfermarket). Although he prefers to operate from the right, his stats have been equally impressive down the left. He has also featured as a centre-forward, thus proving his adaptability in various offensive roles.

Rangers target Kiril Despodov in action for Ludogrets
Ludogorets Razgrad’s Bulgarian forward Kiril Despodov fights for the ball with Midtjylland’s Swedish defender Joel Andersson (R) during the UEFA Europa League Group F football match between Ludogorets Razgrad and Midtjylland in Razgrad on December 9, 2021. (Photo by Nikolay DOYCHINOV / AFP) (Photo by NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP via Getty Images). The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) and Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/).

Should Rangers Wrap Him Up This Winter?

Having said that, the Bulgaria international might struggle to attune to the demands and aggression of the Scottish game. Rangers roped in plenty of attackers during Steven Gerrard’s regime, but only a few survived the pressure of chasing silverware week in week out. The likes of Eros Grezda, Brandon Barker, Jake Hastie, Jordan Jones, Sheyi Ojo, Florian Kamberi, Glenn Middleton etc have failed to meet the expectation and the Light Blues, therefore, must consider the other aspects of Despodov’s game before splashing the cash in the forthcoming future.

Rangers have Ryan Kent, Fashion Sakala, Scott Wright and Ianis Hagi as the wide attacking options. While they might be found well equipped on the flanks, reinforcements should be welcomed given the limitations of Hagi as an outright wing forward. The Bulgarian could slot in down the right but, at the same time, must step up his game and offer high work ethics to be successful in Scotland.

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