Why Kyle Lafferty is a shrewd signing by Rangers
The Light Blues have been ultra-aggressive in the transfer market this summer, as they look to build a team capable of toppling reigning champions and arch-rivals Celtic from the top.
Things have started off fairly well for the Gers under Gerrard, as they find themselves third in the Premiership after two games, while they have made it to the playoff stages of the UEFA Europa League qualifying campaign. They have also advanced to the third round of the League Cup after beating Kilmarnock 3-1 this past weekend.
While the club had recruited as many as 11 players before the arrival of Lafferty, the centre-forward department was still a bit of a bothersome area for Gerrard. The Gers just had Alfredo Morelos as their striking option heading into the new season, having released veteran forward Kenny Miller and loaned out last season’s flop signing Eduardo Herrera.
While they have brought in Umar Sadiq on loan from AS Roma, trusting two 21-year old forwards to get the job done in a long and arduous campaign wouldn’t have been the most prudent thing. And to address that, the club have gone in and brought Lafferty from Hearts.
The 30-year-old spent four years at the Ibrox previously between 2008 and 2012, before leaving for Swiss outfit FC Sion following the club’s financial meltdown. During his previous spell with Rangers, the Northern Irishman bagged 36 goals and set up 19 more in 134 appearances, winning three Premiership titles, two League Cups and a Scottish Cup.
Since leaving the Glasgow outfit, Lafferty has had spells at Sion, Palermo, Norwich City, Rizespor (loan), Birmingham City (loan), before joining the Hearts last summer. On his return to Scotland, the striker had a solid campaign, as he finished with 19 goals and 2 assists from 41 appearances across all competitions.
The 67-time capped Northern Ireland striker has started the new season on a strong note as well, scoring in Hearts’ 1-0 win over champions Celtic in their league encounter a fortnight ago.
Given the lack of experience and bench strength in Rangers’ strike-force under Gerrard, bringing in a player who knows the division and the club well is a great move by the Gers.
The 30-year-old Lafferty will add more firepower to their forward line and the fact that he has the experience of playing for clubs across Europe will also be an added benefit, that is likely to prove valuable in their Europa League campaign.
The former Hearts man can lead the line as the lone striker or operate alongside either of Morelos or Sadiq in a two-man attack. He could also act as an impact substitute from the bench, providing the manager with a multitude of options. His arrival at the Ibrox is a shrewd piece of business for the Gers.