Cast your mind back to the theory Thomas Tuchel came up with in 2021; Ike Ugbo making his mark for Chelsea with a pre-season goal against AFC Bournemouth. Does it help explain why the reported Rangers target has found goals so hard to come by since leaving Stamford Bridge on a permanent basis? 

Ugbo scored just six times in 25 games at KRC Genk in 2021/22; his excitement following his £6 million arrival falling flat quicker than an ill-advised pun on an open mic night in Hartlepool.

A further two in 23 Ligue 1 matches for Troyes, meanwhile, means reports linking Rangers with a potential £3.5 million summer swoop were always likely to raise questions (Scottish Sun). 

Dinamo Zagreb v KRC Genk: Group H - UEFA Europa League
Photo by Goran Stanzl/Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images

If Rangers are to close the gap on Celtic at the top of the Premiership table, Beale’s first summer at the helm simply has to be a success. And Ugbo – 13 goals in 63 games since the start of last term – does not exactly come with the kind of track record many Gers supporters would be looking for in a prospective Alfredo Morelos replacement.  

Can Ike Ugbo rebuild his reputation at Rangers?

Ugbo, during his time at Troyes and Genk, has more often than not been tasked with leading the line as a sole centre-forward, via Football Critic. And perhaps this is where things have been going wrong. Perhaps this is a lesson Beale can learn from if Ugbo does end up joining Kieran Dowell and co at Ibrox before September’s transfer deadline. 

Tuchel, two years back, identified the London-born Canada international as a striker who would benefit more from playing alongside another forward, rather than by operating as a lone number nine.

“It suits Armando (Broja, fellow Chelsea youngster) and Ike better as double strikers,” pointed out the now-Bayern Munich boss. 

Something for Beale to consider, then. If he is to get more out of Ugbo than Troyes or Genk did, he would be well advised partnering the 24-year-old with – not necessarily another striker – but a Todd Cantwell or a Fashion Sakala. Someone capable of combining with Ugbo, dragging defenders away, and providing the service for him to do what he is most comfortable doing.

And that mostly involves – as Ugbo tells The Athletic – being a bit of ‘a nuisance’. 

“Being everywhere and being clinical,” Ugbo explains. “Not needing many chances, just one or two, to score.

“That’s when I’m at best.”

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