Wednesday night’s 3-1 victory over NK Maribor ensured that Steven Gerrard’s start to life as Rangers boss continues to be a rosy one. Results thus far have been relentlessly positive, but the former England captain is not one to rest on his laurels.
This summer’s recruitment drive has already brought a plethora of new personnel to Ibrox but, if reports are to be believed, the boss still wants more. The closure of the English transfer window has, he believes, created opportunities, and he wants to exploit them.
One such opportunity is the signing of Stoke City’s Erik Pieters. The Dutch international continues to seek a permanent move away from the Bet365 Stadium after suffering the ignominy of relegation last season and, having failed to secure a Premier League return, is now open to other options.
Rangers are said to be preparing a bid in the coming days and should they be successful, the stats suggest it would be a wonderful acquisition:
|CLUB Stoke City||AGE 29Y 11M|
|POS DEF||HEIGHT 6FT 1IN|
Avg Goal for
Avg Goals against
Mins per goal for
Mins per goal against
Shots for per game
Points per game
Pieters turned out consistently for Stoke last season, playing in 31 of 38 league fixtures, and the struggles they endured without him were something to be seen.
Opponents were able to create more chances, and as a result, average goals conceded per game rose. Possession stats also tumbled and, ultimately, fewer games were won and more games were lost without the former PSV Eindhoven man.
It’s clear that Pieters was one of Stoke’s stronger performers and one of the few truly at home at Premier League level. It’s also clear why his frustrations with the club have reached boiling point, and why he’s desperate for a new challenge.
A move to Rangers would certainly be that. The opportunity to compete in the Europa League looks almost certain to be his should he move, while the prospect of breaking Celtic’s spell of domestic dominance is enough to motivate any professional.
This would a fantastic move for both club and player, and both should push to get it over the line.
The Acca Smacker
For fans across the continent, the excitement is building. A new season is here and optimism is rife. Will new signings stun? Will titles be won? Everyone hopes, but nobody knows. Domestic football’s back, and we could be happier.
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