Friday, August 12, 2022

Striker Confirms Rangers’ Interest In Him: Why The Van Bronckhorst Must Get The Deal Done

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Pratyay Maitra
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Rangers have parted ways with centre-forward Cedric Itten who has returned to his homeland with BSC Young Boys.

They are likely to rope in a new ‘number 9’ to challenge and cover the current attacking options and Mateo Cassierra, the PFC Sochi striking ace, has himself revealed Gio van Bronckhorst’s interest ahead of a potential summer transfer.

“I hope within the next week or so, my future will be confirmed and I will sign for a club who are good for me. My priority is to stay in Europe because I have been here for five years now. The manager of Rangers knows me because when I was at Ajax, he was the manager of Feyenoord.”

The above was revealed by the 25-year-old (in a radio interview in Colombia, as quoted by the Daily Record), who made an immediate impact in the Russian Premier League.

Born in Colombia, Cassierra began his journey with Deportivo Cali before completing a €5.5m transfer to Ajax. Despite enjoying a boisterous run for the reserves, he found his minutes limited in the top tier of Dutch football. The loan spells with Groningen and Racing did not work out either, and Ajax, therefore, accepted Belenenses SAD’s offer three years later.

Rangers target Mateo Cassierra in action for his former club Belenenses
Sporting’s Uruguayan defender Sebastian Coates (R) heads the ball with Belenenses’ Colombian forward Mateo Cassierra during the Portuguese League football match between Sporting Portugal and Belenenses at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on April 21, 2021. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP) (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/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/).

Cassierra revived his form in Portugal and a successful 2020–21 Primeira Liga season saw him being roped in by Sochi last summer. There he scored 14 league goals while spearheading the attack, and his excellence high up the pitch earned them the runners-up spot behind Zenit St Petersburg.

However, the attacker is keen on leaving the country amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, and a move to Rangers would see him uniting with fellow countrymen Juan Alegría and Alfredo Morelos.

Why Rangers Should Tie Him Down

The Light Blues had a striker conundrum late in the campaign amid injuries to both Morelos and Kemar Roofe. Van Bronckhorst did not fancy Fashion Sakala as a targetman and instead relied on Joe Aribo as a makeshift ‘False 9’ in the Europa League and Scottish Cup finals. Although the Nigerian has proven his versatility time and again, the ‘number 8′ role suits him the most, given his ability to retain possession and dribble past the opponents’ midfield.

While Morelos is targeting a return for the pre-season, Roofe has failed to grab a starting status due to form and fitness reasons. The Jamaican is more comfortable as a second striker or withdrawal forward, and the Gers, as a result, are keen on a new face who would fit in the Dutchman’s plans.

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