Rangers’ multi-million-pound investment in Ianis Hagi during the summer window is already paying off, as the attacker continues to rack up assists.
Hagi had been on loan with the Gers for less than two months when domestic and European football was shut down due to the global health crisis.
The Romania international’s Premiership performances were mixed but standout displays in the Europa League convinced the Gers to boldly pursue a permanent deal during the summer transfer window.
In May, a deal was completed, with Rangers committing to paying Genk a reported £3 million across a series of instalments.
Ianis Hagi set to join @RangersFC in £3m deal. Payments will be split over three years.
— Jim White (@JimWhite) May 26, 2020
It was a serious commitment to make amid uncertain financial times, especially on a player who, while clearly very talented, was still unproven.
However, even at this early stage in the season, it’s safe to say that the investment is paying off.
Hagi hasn’t been one of the first names on the teamsheet for Steven Gerrard, who, rightly or wrongly, still appears to view the 22-year-old as something of a luxury player.
Yet, the results he’s produced when on the pitch have been outstanding.
Hagi has only scored once so far this season. However, since he broke his duck in a Premiership fixture against Hamilton in late August, he’s been setting up goals left, right and centre.
By picking out Joe Aribo, who put the Gers 1-0 up early on against Livingston on Saturday, he notched his eighth assist in his last nine appearances in all competitions.
In the build-up, he showed what he was all about, sending Efe Ambrose to the turf with a quick change of direction, before slipping in Jermain Defoe with a delicate through ball.
Defoe wasn’t able to convert the chance, but when the ball came back out off Livi keeper, Max Stryjek, he did well to square the ball to Aribo on the stretch, leaving his teammate with an easy finish.
Rangers have now won seven consecutive matches and Gerrard has players in form all over the pitch.
James Tavenier, Scott Arfield, Glen Kamara and Connor Goldson have received a lot of praise recently and rightly so.
Yet, Ianis Hagi is playing a big role too and given that he still has years of developing to do before he reaches his peak, his £3m transfer fee is already beginning to look like a bargain.