This article was initially published in January when Rangers were first linked with a move for Oscar Cortes. The piece has been republished following the news that Cortes has joined Rangers on a season-long loan with an obligation to buy. As the Rangers Review reported last week the club had been in advanced negotiations with Lens to prolong Cortes' stay at Ibrox.


Oscar Cortes is expected to become a further January addition in Rangers’ busy first window under Philippe Clement in the coming days.

The Ibrox outfit expect to bring the 20-year-old to Glasgow from Lens on a loan-to-buy transfer. Cortes moved to the Ligue 1 club last summer from Millonarios in Colombia but has found minutes hard to come by since a move to Europe.

Who is Cortes, what style of player is he and what will he could to Clement’s side? Here’s a scout report providing everything you need to know.

Context, profile and background

With one senior international cap to his name, Cortes moved to Lens from Millonarios in July 2023 for a fee in the region of 4.4million euros. After making his debut in the Colombian top flight just after his 18th birthday and becoming a key player for the Under-20 national side, a move to Champions League-bound Lens followed.


READ MORE: Check all the Rangers transfer news & rumours before the transfer window


Football has been limited at Lens, who have the same owner as Millonarios - Joseph Oughourlian. Given the French side play in a 3-5-2, there is no natural position for Cortes to occupy as a winger who’s more wide forward than wide midfielder. 

Clement inherited a Rangers squad that lacked any out-and-out first-team winger aside from Rabbi Matondo. Ross McCausland has been successfully promoted from the youth team and Abdallah Sima converted into a wide forward role on the left to great success before suffering a serious injury at AFCON. Cortes ticks many boxes for Rangers given his ability to play on the left or the right. As will be expanded upon, his direct nature also corroborates with the type of wide player Clement’s football should suit in theory. With 10 goals and three assists across 1900 minutes of football in 2023, Cortes managed a goal every 195 minutes.

At 20, Cortes¬†remains in a very coachable stage of his career. Six tricky months in a top-five league at his age should not put potential suitors off. Cortes remains one of the most exciting young prospects in Colombia at present. Like Mohamed Diomande who sealed a move to Rangers last week, this appears to be a promising player still on his upward curve and not a ‚Äėonce-was‚Äô wonder kid.

What type of player is Cortes? 

Although a different profile to Sima, Cortes could help fill the gap left by the Senegalese international’s injury, in that he’s more of a forward than a midfielder. A powerful runner who looks quicker over distance than short range the young attacker can beat his man one-on-one with the ball at his feet but arguably, that’s not his super strength in crowded areas. Cortes will instead look to combine with teammates and play one-twos, operating with his head up. His first thought is forward and his directional sense leads to attacking the centre. 

Cortes is comfortable across various areas of the pitch, has a powerful shot from range and delivery of sufficient quality to be entrusted with set-pieces. The young winger, who is very right-footed, is skillful and runs with long strides, probably more effective carrying the ball in space than against the low block. We’ll expand on this point because it’s not necessarily a negative. A defining trait of Cortes' game is combining with teammates and thriving on combination play. 

Take a look at the attacker's heatmap across all competitions in 2023, as an example of how his role differs from left to right.

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On each flank, Cortes’  byline activity becomes more limited the closer he gets to goal given his tendency to move inside. He's averaged 5.34 dribbles on the left compared to 4.04 on the right but was more successful with attempts from the latter side (47 percent to 79).

Why? On the left Cortes is a more consistent goalthreat who takes more risks on the ball. You could see him filling in well for Sima - running over the top, finding the ball in space and being encouraged to attack the centre. Crosses on his left foot are rarely favoured with routes inside the pitch method of choice.

READ MORE: How Dessers is changing Rangers story: Clement confidence, data move and a nice song

On the right, Cortes' remit changes slightly. He won’t thrive if glued to that touchline and as the heatmap shows, he rarely hits the byline on that side. More frequently the winger will move inside the pitch and combine with teammates, benefitting from an overlapping full-back offering width next to him.

However, given his right-footed preference and searing pace, the youngster does have the option of going wide if needed. Arguably this is why Cortes has tended to play from the right in games where his team dominate the ball throughout his career - there’s greater scope to be a two-way winger on that flank. There are more options when the opposition sits deep.

How does Cortes play off the left?

Take a look at Cortes’ shot map over the last calendar year. Notice plenty of efforts from range and all but one goal coming from the right of the penalty spot. 

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This goal scored while playing in Colombia against Penarol is a perfect example of the winger’s attribute from that side, particularly effective in games with space. The move starts deep in the pitch as Cortes carries his side forward.

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Here we see the player’s long strides and ability to eat up ground. Cortes carries the ball 40 yards or so before getting his head up and finding a teammate - but his task is not over.

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He plays and continues a move forward, offering a give-and-go attempt synonymous with his style. Cortes receives a return pass while the Penarol defence is focused on the initial run behind before stepping over the ball and curling a shot into the corner first-time having received a return.

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It will be interesting to see how the forward's game adapts to the low blocks of Scotland. However, Sima’s success under Clement shows you don’t have to be an excellent small-space dribbler to succeed in a role from wide areas. A fast pace of play has enabled Sima to attack space behind, play close to his No.9 and always move towards the goal. Cortes also has a few back-post goals in his arsenal - he should be able to get plenty of shots off if operating from that side in Glasow.

Here’s an example from his time with Millonarios. Cortes is not there until he is, ghosting in at the far post as all wingers are encouraged to.

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In settled periods of possession, Cortes will likely have to hone his skill for ball retention when playing from the left. The best wingers in the world don’t only beat their men, but choose the optimum moments to do so. 

How does Cortes play off the right?

Often in more high-possession games, Cortes has played from the right with an overlapping full-back, as shown by the outlined higher dribbling success rate. Here, his game is more inclined to retain the ball. Enabling Cortes to cross in the half-space, combine with strikers and move infield. Although capable of hitting the byline, Cortes is not a touchline-hugger who wants to be isolated in wide areas. It’s a natural inclination for him to move towards teammates, combine and operate close to goal.

READ MORE: Meet Mohamed Diomande: Left-sided fit, rising star with complete midfield profile

Here’s an example from a game against Brazil at the Under-20 Sudamericano. Although lining up on the right wing, Cortes is playing in the pockets. The below sequence demonstrates some of the key themes discussed throughout this scout report. 

With an overlapping full-back providing width, Cortes receives in the half-space during a spell of Columbia dominating the ball. When games require wingers to hold the ball more than they attack their man in limited space, this role arguably suits him better.

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With a first touch away from his man Cortes spins to get front-facing in the centre. This is where he wants to be, in central pockets combining with teammates. With no ball directly into the feet of the striker on, he looks wide and continues a run forward.

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This is something Cortes does well, running forward ahead or behind opponents off the ball. This time shot is wide from range, after initially picking the ball up in the right half-space and ending the move in the left. 

Rangers Review: Wyscout

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Here’s another example from his time in Colombia - this time a long-range goal against Athletico Hulla. Starting on the right, Cortes’ first thought is to attack the centre. After receiving the ball in a central area it's quick combination play with his teammate that earns a shot, before the forward finds the net with a powerful drive from the edge of the area.

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Here’s a final example during an international against Senegal. After receiving wide on the touchline Cortes uses an underlap from the right-back to earn space, waiting to attack his marker until his teammate arrives before moving infield, unbalancing the opponent before striding past and moving inside to combine.

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Having found the far side of the pitch, Cortes continues his run and is attacking the box as a shot is saved.

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It should be noted that while Cortes wants to move inside from the right, his pace enables him to hit the byline and cross first time in a way he can't from the left.

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Where does he fit in?

There’s no denying that just like Fabio Silva and Diomande, Cortes represents an exciting young profile of player with bags of potential. The task for Clement is to make said players ready to play and win now, growing their value for a sale further down the line.

On the right in games when his team dominates possession, Cortes could provide competition with McCausland. Offering a balance alongside Tavernier who can also move inside or outside the pitch.

On the left, Cortes should offer a near alternative to Sima. Becoming an extra No.9, attacking vertically from the wing and exploiting space when it appears.

Rangers needed a wide player with a goal-threathis window, especially given the news of Sima's injury. In Oscar Cortes, it looks as though they've got one.