Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is in danger of wasting January arrival, Ianis Hagi, if he persists with deploying him in a wide role.
The signing of Hagi was greeted with jubilation by most Gers fans.
It was late in the window, but after a slip-up at Hearts, the club had pulled off a swoop for a creator with pedigree.
A full international who had taken part in the Champions League group stages earlier in the season with Genk, Rangers had captured a highly regarded young player.
So far in his career, he’s been mainly deployed in an attacking midfield role.
Romanian football journalist, Emanuel Rosu, claimed on Twitter on the eve of the move, that Hagi is a ‘born no.10’ who would be wasted out wide.
He is best behind a striker, he's a born number 10. You waste him on the wing. He's not natural there and doesn't come back to help the defense as defenders dream.
— Emanuel Roşu (@Emishor) January 30, 2020
Yet, remarkably, that’s where he found himself for large parts of the fixture against Kilmarnock in midweek.
Stuck out on the right, the 21-year-old, who is a silky rather than physical player, often looked isolated. There were occasional nice touches and pieces of linkup play, which often came when he drifted infield, but in general, he had very little impact on the game before being substituted in the final ten minutes.
The talent is clear for all to see, and his late winner against Hibernian on his first start for the club showed he has the stomach for it.
💙 @IanisHagi10: ''Happy Birthday Dad, I love you''.
🎂 A birthday goal from Ianis on Gheorghe Hagi's 55th birthday. pic.twitter.com/Xo9SZMeqKz
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) February 5, 2020
However, it seems that the Gers have brought in a quality operator in the January window, only to shoehorn him into a system that doesn’t suit him.
The sample size is small, but it seems clear already that if we are to see the best of Ianis Hagi over the coming months, a tactical or system change is required.
If Gerrard persists with his current approach, he risks wasting a valuable asset.