If we can tear ourselves away from the utter pantomime of Scottish football at the…
Although transfers can have an unfortunate habit of falling apart at the last minute, Jason Cummings’ proposed loan move to Rangers seems to be all but done. It’s a deal that undoubtedly asks the very simple question: where does the former Hibernian forward fit in at Ibrox?
The 22-year-old hasn’t enjoyed the most successful time of it since moving south to Nottingham Forrest and will surely be joining Graeme Murty’s side off the back of promises that plenty of game time will be offered. Yet he’s joining a club that already has a preferred natural goalscorer and a frontline that seems to change from one week to the next.
However, there’s no doubt that Cummings should prove to be a handy signing for the Ibrox side and in a number of ways he’s exactly what Murty’s current rebuild project needs.
It’ll come as no surprise to most Rangers fans that Morelos is comfortably the club’s most potent goalscorer by quite a margin. In fact, the Colombian has scored no less than 24% of Rangers’ Premiership goals this season. That in itself showcases the striker’s fantastic form, but it also underlines just how reliant Rangers are on him consistently performing for the team.
To put it in to context, Leigh Griffiths has only scored 13% of Celtic’s goals, while Scott Sinclair has notched up just 17%. Similarly, Aberdeen’s top goalscorer, Adam Rooney, sits on six goals, making up 18% of Aberdeen’s league goals. For one of the bigger teams in the division, Rangers really should have more sources for goals.
When we dive into the current makeup of Rangers’ goalscoring it becomes even more evident that they desperately need another goalscorer. When we look at the table for non-penalty goals and shots on target every 90 minutes we get a graph like the one above.
There, we can see that after Morelos things become a little bleak. Aside from Josh Windass, Rangers’ next, best goalscorer was the recently-departed Carlos Pena, followed by the injured Graham Dorrans and then left-back Declan John. It’s also worth pointing out that although Kenny Miller may technically still be labelled a forward, the senior player simply doesn’t chip in with the amount of goals he used to offer and can’t be relied upon as a striker to partner, or even aid, Morelos.
As such, it makes perfect sense for Rangers to bring in forwards during this transfer window. Although Jamie Murphy may be tasked with shoring up the frontline, it’ll be Cummings who is expected to knock the ball in to the back of the net and compliment the form shown of Morelos.
Rangers seem to have taken a notable change in the way they identify players in the transfer market since Murty took over the first team, but we’ve also seen a formation change too which may play a large part in why Cummings has been brought to Ibrox.
Despite only having one clinical striker, the interim-manager has often opted for a 4-4-2 system, with the midfield four playing as a diamond. That tends to mean Morelos and either Eduardo Herrera or Windass as the front pairing, with Jason Holt often playing behind as the number 10.
The formation allows Rangers to get the best out of their current squad, whilst protecting the fragile nature of Murty’s central defence. As we saw in both Aberdeen wins and the 2-1 victory over Hibernian, it gets results and seems to be the new manager’s preferred system.
Murphy’s arrival means Murty may revert back to playing with two traditional wingers, although the former Motherwell star can play behind the strikers if called upon. However, it’s perhaps more likely that we’ll see Cummings come in and slot straight in alongside Morelos, while Windass is moved back into the midfield diamond as either a number 10 or on to either wing.
Despite his ability to dribble and comfortably shoot with both feet, Cummings is undoubtedly a penalty-box striker who enjoys playing off the last man and picking off rebounds in the opposing box. And since he won’t be knocking Morelos out of the team anytime soon it makes sense for Murty to be planning on playing both goalscorers alongside one another.
At the moment, Rangers are far too reliant on Morelos for goals and with Pena leaving, Dorrans injured, Miller diminishing and rumours linking Windass with a move down south, it makes sense for the club to seek out another goalscorer. Cummings, in many ways, should prove to be exactly that.