Carlos Pena’s return to Rangers this January is inevitable, but Steven Gerrard is going to have to make it work.
The Mexican is set to return to Ibrox after an indifferent spell at Necaxa. The Liga MX side are struggling this season, and Pena has been filtering in and out of the side. To say it has been a successful loan spell back in his homeland would be a bit of an exaggeration.
Necaxa surely won’t be interested in stumping up a fee to sign him permanently. As it stands, it doesn’t look like much of the Mexican Premier League will be too interested either. Therefore, Pena will return to Ibrox for the next stage in his calamitous Rangers career.
Yet, the problem Gerrard has is the fact that the midfielder signed on a three-year deal last season. There’s still 18 months left on his Ibrox contract remaining, and it’s not as if he’s on small money. Apparently Pena earns around £25k-per-week, and Rangers aren’t seeing enough back for that. The club also parted ways with £2.5million for his services.
In fairness to the midfielder, he hasn’t had his troubles to seek on a personal level. Off-field issues have plagued his development on the pitch, and it’s important he puts all of that behind him to push on.
Won’t be shifted
Rangers, however, won’t be able to shift him in January, and probably not even at the end of the season. Gerrard has to start finding a way to make Pena repay what the club dished out on him.
The unfortunate part of all this is the position where Pena plays. Had he been a right-back or right-winger, there may have been opportunities for him. Instead, the Mexican plays in Rangers’ most competitive area of the pitch – centre midfield.
He has the same problem that Graham Dorrans, Greg Docherty, and Jason Holt has/will have when they return. The quality of player currently holding Pena’s position is too great for him to be able to topple.
Yet, we refuse to believe there isn’t a player in Pena. He became an easy scapegoat last season as Pedro Caixinha’s main man. With the Portuguese coach finally gone, maybe Pena will come back with a point to prove.
In any case, Gerrard simply has to start getting a tune out of the Mexican. If he doesn’t then the club are going to be paying out a fortune on someone who’s giving nothing back.