Glasgow Rangers returned to domestic action following the winter break as they defeated fourth-tier side Dumbarton 4-1 in the Scottish Cup.
Philippe Clement fielded a strong team against the Sons, while the likes of Ryan Jack and Borna Barisic got vital minutes off the bench as they aimed to build match fitness after their respective injuries.
While there is an important Premiership clash coming up against Hibernian on Wednesday evening, Clement will be working towards improving his squad before the January transfer window slams shut next week.
Many names have been linked with a move to Ibrox over the previous three weeks, yet only Fabio Silva has joined the club, arriving on a short-term loan deal from Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Could there be a breakthrough concerning Clement’s second signing, however? Indeed, it appears the club have reached an agreement with a talented midfielder according to recent reports.
Rangers’ search for new signings
It is no secret that Clement is looking to bolster his options across various positions, with the heart of the midfield being one of them.
He has the luxury to call on the likes of John Lundstram, Ryan Jack, Nicolas Raskin, Jose Cifuentes and Kieran Dowell, yet injury issues have sidelined a number of these players throughout the campaign.
This has given Clement a licence to go out and bring a player or two to Rangers and it looks as though midfielder Mohamed Diomande is on his way to Scotland.
According to Danish outlet BT, the Nordsjaelland starlet is flying home from their mid-season training camp in America to undergo a medical at the Ibrox side after flying to Scotland, with an agreement being reached between the two clubs.
The report does not state how much the player will cost the Gers, but it could prove to be a very wise investment considering how vital he has been for the Danish side over the previous four years.
The Belgian coach has no shortage of options at the heart of his midfield, but Diomande and Raskin could form a wonderful partnership in the middle of the pitch across the next few years.
Nico Raskin’s season in numbers
The former Standard Liege gem joined the Light Blues last January under Michael Beale and it was clear after a few games that he had all the required attributes to shine in Scotland.
His tenacious nature combined with his ability to push forward as often as possible have ensured he has a bright future at the club and he shone during his first six months in the Premiership.
Indeed, Raskin finished the 2022/23 season ranked sixth among the squad for successful dribbles per game (0.9) and third for tackles per game (1.8) as he settled into the first team rather well. It looked like it was a sign of things to come.
The current campaign has not been the most fruitful, with injury keeping him out for 17 matches as Clement has had to regularly rotate his midfielders.
Despite missing so many games, Raskin still ranks seventh for accurate passes per game (39.4) along with ranking first for tackles per game (2.7), demonstrating this combative nature which the side desperately required in their engine room.
Nico Raskin’s domestic statistics at Rangers
Accurate passes per game
Key passes per game
Successful dribbles per game
Tackles per game
Total duels won per game
Having a reliable partner alongside him could take his game to new heights and luring Diomande from Denmark to Scotland could allow Clement to form a wonderful duo.
Mohamed Diomande’s numbers in Denmark
The 22-year-old made his debut during the 2019/20 season and has since racked up 111 appearances for the Danish side, an impressive tally for someone so young.
During that time, he has showcased his attacking abilities by scoring 13 goals and grabbing 14 assists, proving he is more than able to burst forward with ease and provide a reliable goal threat – something which Rangers need from the heart of the midfield.
This is not his only strength however, as like Raskin, the Ivorian can also contribute effectively from a defensive standpoint and possesses a wonderful passing ability too, evidenced by his statistics from the 2023/24 season thus far.
Across his 13 league appearances, Diomande has averaged a stunning 89% pass success rate per game along with averaging 1.1 key passes per match and making 1.4 tackles each encounter, demonstrating his all-round ability which could make him a hit at Rangers.
Mohamed Diomande’s style of play
Analyst John Walker profiled the young midfielder on X amid the rumours that the club had agreed a deal to bring him to Scotland, stating that Diomande is an “aggressive tackle and carrier” while going on to say that he “absolutely loves the physical nature of the midfield”. As a result, having someone like this could only benefit Raskin.
It is clear that he loves arriving late and getting into the box in order to score and assist, while the Rangers target is “a very strong ball carrier and forward-thinking passer” according to Kai Watson, founder of the Rangers Journal.
These qualities are badly needed at the club just now, as the midfield has gone slightly stale and it is in clear need of a refresh ahead of the second half of the season.
Diomande would add some dynamism to the starting XI and he could allow Raskin to focus on his defensive duties, while having the freedom to make those late runs into the attacking penalty area and providing the side with another attacking option.
All the signs so far have pointed to a player who is ready to make the move to Glasgow and would not seem fazed in the slightest about playing for one of the biggest clubs in Britain.
His arrival could be the catalyst for more talented youngsters to be signed from regions such as Scandinavia and this can assist Clement in establishing a proper player trading model.
While Ibrox could well be a stepping stone for the 6-foot gem, there is no doubt if he shines at the club, Premier League sides may potentially come calling with their millions and this could generate a tidy profit for Light Blues.
Diomande looks set to be the second signing of the January transfer window it will be interesting to see if Clement brings anyone else in.