With a strong lack of midfield aggression in recent years, have Rangers been missing a player of Lassana Coulibaly’s attributes?
The midfielder is on loan from Angers in Ligue 1, and impressed many supporters with some crunching challenges and a desire to win 50-50s in his debut against Osijek in the Europa League. This is a much-needed couple of traits in a Rangers midfielder, and shows that Steven Gerrard has pinpointed one of the key areas of the park that the Ibrox club needed improvement in.
Mark Warburton, Pedro Caixinha, and Graeme Murty all had recruitment waves that failed to tackle this issue of a solid ball-winner in the midfield.
Rangers supporters have since grown fed up of opposition sides running over them, particularly at Ibrox where their midfield has failed to show battling qualities.
That takes us to Coulibaly, who is known more for his defensive attributes as opposed to being box-to-box. Whilst we’ve only had one glance of him so far, Gerrard has labelled the former Bastia man a “destroyer”, and therefore supporters can be satisfied that the manager has looked to solve that glaring issue in the midfield – regardless of whether Coulibaly turns out a success or not.
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This is the kind of position that Rangers need to start building a team around. With the likes of Scott Brown and John McGinn having too much joy coming up against the Rangers midfield, Coulibaly looks like the kind of player that Joey Barton pretended he was.
The 22-year-old looks like he’ll be the kind of player to bring that bit of steel to the midfield and a winner of 50-50 balls. Too often have the Ibrox side been overpowered when the ball is up for grabs, and this is the kind of area that Coulibaly is expected to chip in.
So whilst it remains to be seen whether Coulibaly is a success or not, it’s clear Gerrard has had enough of his club being easy pickings in the engine room.