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The Mysterious Quest for Rangers’ Ideal Number Nine
Last updated just moments ago… or was it? Time seems to slip away as the January transfer window continues to captivate our attention. At the center of it all is Rangers Football Club, embarking on a journey across three different fronts in the second half of an enthralling season.
Whispers echo through the corridors of Ibrox Stadium, hinting at potential striker acquisitions that could ignite the team’s attacking prowess. Amongst these murmurs lurks Michy Batshuayi, a former Chelsea forward currently plying his trade at Fenerbahce. Could he be tempted by an adventure in Glasgow?
However, not far from home lies Lawrence Shankland of Hearts fame – a domestic alternative who has caught the eye with his goal-scoring exploits. But what kind of player does Philippe Clement’s side truly need upfront?
An Analytical Conundrum: Goals vs Expected Goals (xG)
Rangers have found the back of the net on 41 occasions in their first 20 league games this season – an impressive tally second only to their fierce rivals Celtic (who boast 53 goals). However, delve deeper into statistical analysis and you’ll discover something intriguing…
This enigmatic metric known as xG (expected goals) exposes Rangers’ underperformance compared to their expected output. The youthful fascination with such numbers reveals that they are projected to have scored around 46.6 goals based on their shot quality and location.
Even more perplexing is their conversion rate, a mere 10% from a staggering 410 shots. Six other clubs possess superior xG figures, leaving Rangers yearning for that clinical touch in front of goal.
A Ray of Hope: Enter Lawrence Shankland
Amongst the ranks of passionate supporters, one name reverberates louder than most – Lawrence Shankland. This Scottish striker has been a revelation this season, notching up an impressive total of 19 goals for both club and country. Remember his exploits last season when he finished as the Premiership’s third top scorer with an astounding tally of 24.
However, luring Shankland to Ibrox won’t be easy. Hearts have made it clear they will only consider “exceptional” offers for the talented marksman who remains under contract until the end of next season.
The Intriguing Affordability Dilemma
Rangers might need to think outside the box given their significant summer expenditure on no less than ten players. Hence, Michy Batshuayi emerges as an intriguing option worth exploring further.
This Belgian international could potentially offer a more financially viable solution if Sam Lammers departs on loan to Utrecht as rumored. With an impressive strike rate at international level (27 goals in 52 appearances), including a memorable brace against Scotland at Hampden Park in 2018, Batshuayi brings forth enticing potential.
While his performances in England, Germany, Spain and Turkey may have lacked consistency compared to his spells at Standard Liege (44 goals in 120 games) and Marseille (33 strikes in 78 matches), it would be unwise to dismiss him outright based solely on those stints abroad. His overall record stands strong with an impressive haul of 166 goals in 410 club appearances.
Recent form can also shed light on his abilities. Batshuayi has already netted eight times in 20 appearances for Fenerbahce this season and bagged an impressive tally of 20 goals in just 32 outings during the previous campaign.
The Elusive Clinical Edge
Rangers’ quest for a formidable number nine stems from their desire to boost their conversion rate, increase touches inside the opponent’s box, and improve overall attacking efficiency. While Shankland may possess many desirable qualities, Batshuayi would have to prove himself capable of meeting these requirements.
With Wolves loanee Fabio Silva bolstering their striking options until summer, Rangers currently find themselves with four potential candidates who could fill that coveted role up front. However, unfortunate circumstances have hindered the availability of players like Danilo (sidelined until April), Kemar Roofe (plagued by injuries with limited game time), and Cyriel Dessers (struggling under the Ibrox spotlight despite contributing nine goals in 30 appearances).
In Conclusion: The Search Continues
As we reflect upon the first half of this gripping season, it becomes evident that Rangers have leaned heavily on Abdallah Sima’s spectacular wing play which has yielded an impressive goal return of fifteen strikes. Meanwhile, James Tavernier’s remarkable set-piece prowess has further contributed with sixteen well-taken goals.
Yet now is not the time for complacency. With Lawrence Shankland offering proven Premiership pedigree and Michy Batshuayi presenting an enticing international record along with recent goal-scoring exploits, all eyes are fixed on Ibrox as they continue their search for that elusive clinical edge upfront.
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