Rangers' £4.3m gamble is already proving to be better than Raskin

rangers' £4.3m gamble is already proving to be better than raskin

Rangers’ £4.3m gamble is already proving to be better than Raskin

Glasgow Rangers perhaps delivered their finest victory of the season over the weekend as they dismantled an in-form Hearts side who had taken 28 points across their previous ten matches.

Not only did the Light Blues register another confidence-boosting win, but they scored five against the Gorgie outfit without reply, and it piled the pressure on Celtic ahead of their clash against Motherwell on Sunday.

They ended up securing a late win, but the Parkhead side were far from their best and Rangers now have the momentum for the first time in a while.

Much has been said about the recruitment of both teams over the previous few years, but Philippe Clement’s three January signings all scored against Hearts and this injection of freshness might just prove to be the difference in the chase for the Premiership crown.

One incoming in particular has already made such a positive impact that there is no doubt he could become one of the finest players in the squad over the next few years; Mohamed Diomande.

How much Mohamed Diomande cost Rangers

Prior to Christmas, Clement had to endure an injury crisis that deep at the club that he was forced to play Dujon Sterling – a natural full-back – in the heart of the midfield in a major domestic cup final, and it gave him an idea of just how much the squad needed to be bolstered.

Having added Fabio Silva to his side in the winter window, it looked as though the Belgian manager was going to focus on further strengthening his attacking options, but he pulled off a major surprise with a move for Diomande.

The Ivorian midfielder had starred for Danish side FC Nordsjaelland during the first half of the 2023/24 campaign, ranking in the top five among his teammates for big chances created and interceptions per game in the Superliga, and it looked as though Clement had secured a talented young maestro.

The 22-year-old was signed on an initial loan deal with an obligation to buy for a fee in excess of £4.3m, and it looked like a wise move for the Gers.

“I am really pleased to have been able to add Mohamed to our squad, and I am excited to see what he can bring to our team,” beamed Clement after the announcement that he had signed.

“In our conversations and what I have seen of him as a player, I believe he will be a real asset to us, not only in what remains of this season, but in the seasons to come also.”

After just five matches, this statement from the manager is already coming true.

Mohamed Diomande’s season in numbers

The midfielder was given just 16 minutes of action in his first two league matches, but between those games, he started in the 2-0 Scottish Cup win over Ayr United at Ibrox and gave the supporters a demonstration of his talents.

This earned him a first Premiership start against St Johnstone last weekend, and he certainly delivered a wonderful display when it was needed most.

Against the Saints, he opened the scoring with a fantastic low drive just before the interval, along with making two key passes, succeeding with 100% of his dribble attempts and winning every single one of the ground duels he contested.

Mohamed Diomande in the Premiership for Rangers

Games

4

Goals

2

Key passes per game

1

Successful dribbles per game

0.8 (100% success rate)

Balls recovered per game

2.8

Via Sofaascore

This showed that not only can he be a threat going forward, but he also won’t be bullied off the ball easily and can chip in from a defensive viewpoint, which could be crucial in tight matches between now and the end of the season.

Diomande was given another start against Hearts on Saturday, and he scored his second goal in a week to open the scoring once again, and it set the tone for a dominant display from Rangers.

Furthermore, he also won all of his ground duels while completing 86% of his passes, and it was another solid showing from the new boy.

His performances may certainly keep Nicolas Raskin out of the team, but could he even be better than the Belgian gem?

How Diomande compares to Nicolas Raskin

Following the win over Hearts, Rangers Review journalist Chris Jack hailed the signing and said that the call from Clement has certainly “paid off so far” with regard to bringing him to Ibrox last month.

Raskin has plenty of talent, yet fitness has disrupted his campaign so far during 2023/24. He has missed 18 games due to a couple of injury problems and failed to really build any momentum.

The midfielder has scored just one goal in 20 appearances, while Diomande has two in just five games, demonstrating his positive instant impact.

The Ivorian has also registered more key passes per game (1 vs 0.8) than Raskin and succeeded with more successful dribbles per game (0.8 vs 0.6), showing that he certainly possesses a greater attacking threat than his fellow teammate.

Clement needed a player to come in last month and make an immediate impact, and Diomande has done just that, which could be the boost the Gers need to get over the finishing line.

The onus is now on the manager and his side to continue winning and putting in solid performances to fend off Celtic, while also potentially going far in the Europa League, although this would be a bonus.

Signing Diomande for just over £4.3m is already beginning to look like a major steal and if he continues to maintain his impressive start to life at the club, then he will become one of the first names in the starting XI as the season reaches its crescendo.

Could he be the driving force which sees the Light Blues end a three-year wait for the league title? Only time will tell.

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