Glasgow Rangers should enter the second half of the 2023/24 campaign filled with renewed confidence after enjoying a wonderful start to life under Philippe Clement.
Following a horror start to the season that saw Michael Beale lead the club to three Premiership defeats in their opening seven games, something had to give, and the Englishman was sacked after just a few months into the season.
Under the Belgian, the Gers have looked reinvigorated. Not only did they secure their first League Cup since 2011, but they are into the last 16 of the Europa League.
The next priority for the 49-year-old coach is to strengthen his squad during the January transfer window and the Light Blues have been linked with some new names already.
Oscar Zambrano is arguably the most exciting name who has been mentioned with regard to a potential move to Scotland and if Clement could secure his services, it could be a game changer.
Rangers transfer news – Oscar Zambrano
According to reports (via Glasgow World), the Gers are planning a move for the Ecuadorian midfielder as Clement looks to bolster his midfield options.
The youngster is valued at £5.5m by his current club, LDU Quito, and this may prove to be a fee bigger than the Gers are willing to pay.
Further interest has come from Premier League sides such as Wolves, Brighton and Hove Albion and Luton Town are all keen, yet it appears as though Bournemouth are leading the race for the player.
Or are they? An update surrounding the player has suggested that a move to the Premier League has stalled due to a disagreement about how much he is entitled to with regard to a potential deal and this could perhaps open the door for Clement to make a push for the midfielder.
Journalist Dean Jones has had his say on the 19-year-old when speaking to GIVEMESPORT, saying:
“This would be a sensational transfer if you could persuade someone like this to pick Rangers over some of the clubs that have been linked with him across recent months.
“The signs have been that he would end up in the Premier League. As I understand it, Bournemouth continue to be interested in the player and would be the team probably leading the race to sign him. But that doesn’t mean they win the race. There have to be other considerations as to what will suit him.
“But if Rangers could somehow get involved with that and win the battle by signing him, they would be acquiring an unbelievable player that completely changes the landscape for how they could look to build that team.”
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Could the Light Blues swoop in at the last minute and lure him to Scotland? Only time will tell, but he would be a shrewd investment indeed.
Oscar Zambrano’s career statistics
The teenage sensation has already featured for his club side on 48 occasions, and he is clearly making a splash in his homeland, judging by the interest emerging from Europe.
The youngster enjoyed a solid campaign in the Ecuadorian top flight during 2023, and he finished the term having registered a pass success rate of 91% along with recovering 4.3 balls per game, succeeding with 57% of his dribble attempts and losing possession just 4.8 times per game.
He is clearly excellent on the ball and can also push forward whenever possible, despite his tendency to operate in a deep-lying midfield role.
Data analyst Ben Mattinson claimed Zambrano would be an “insane coup” for Luton regarding the recent rumours, while Kai Watson, founder of the Rangers Journal, has also lavished praise on the midfielder recently.
He said: “So far in his career he’s not been a goalscorer, and he’s not a creative midfielder. He’s happy to keep it simple and let the creative players be the ones with the ball in the final third.
“He’ll keep the ball moving, barely lose possession and do everything he can to win the ball back.”
This style of play would work well at Ibrox, and he could also have a positive effect on Todd Cantwell, who would be operating just ahead of him in the number ten role.
Oscar Zambrano could supercharge Todd Cantwell
Following an impressive opening six months at Ibrox – registering 11 goal contributions from his first 20 matches – Cantwell has underwhelmed in spells during the current season.
Indeed, the former Norwich City starlet ranks fifth for goals and assists in the top flight (five) halfway through the season, along with ranking 11th for big chances created (one) and fourth for key passes per game (1.4) and these statistics could be much better that’s for sure.
Could Zambrano benefit Cantwell? The midfielder would allow the Englishman much more freedom as he would take on the main defensive responsibility in the heart of the pitch and allow the 25-year-old to remain as far forward as possible.
Judging by his wonderful passing ability, Zambrano would find Cantwell on a consistent basis with a mixture of passes and this could ensure he is involved more, which would hopefully lead to more goal contributions.
Cantwell tends to drop deep on occasions, judging by his heatmap on Sofascore, and Clement knows that he is at his best just behind the main striker, creating chances and being a general menace to the opposition defence.
For the Englishman to shine, he needs plenty of freedom and time on the ball in order to be at his creative best. Zambrano may cost £5.5m, yet he could well be worth every penny, and not just for the impact he could have on the likes of Cantwell.
He will continue to get better by being exposed to European competition and playing with better players and this, in turn, would see his value increase at a rapid rate.
Clement needs to build a successful player trading model at Ibrox and Zambrano would certainly rake in a massive profit for the Ibrox side after just a season or two in Glasgow.
This suggests that the initial outlay could turn out to be a spectacular bargain, and it is a move the Belgian coach must make in the coming weeks.