All football recruitment is a gamble. A player’s unprecedented success or abject failure is entirely subjective and utterly different from club to club. You only need to look at Toni Kroos as a pertinent example of how differently elite clubs can value even the best players in the world. Classed by Bayern Munich as no longer of the requisite value and importance to the team, he was allowed to join Real Madrid 10 years ago. The rest is quite literally history.

There are countless examples of players making hugely significant contributions at one club and then not quite hitting the heights at another. So many factors are involved in whether players are judged as good or a disaster, and there is rarely a middle ground. 

Some clubs' ethos is focused solely on developing young or undervalued players for profit and claiming a mid-table finish in a strong league. Throw in a cup run or group stages in Europe; their fans will generally be happy. Whilst playing at a high level, the pressure to perform in every game and fight for every point isn't the same as that of clubs who are expected to win every game they play.

At clubs with a long history of winning - let's use Rangers as an example - all recruitment is viewed through a single lens. Did we win the league, get to the finals of both cups and give a decent account of ourselves in Europe? If the answer to more than one of those is no - then more often than not, a manager loses their job. Also, most players who sign will be denounced as not good enough and/or a total waste of money. There isn't the time to develop players that you have at other clubs - remembering that, ironically enough, these clubs are fortunate enough to play in higher-quality leagues and have access to more money whilst not having the same pressure. It's a double negative for Rangers, who lack both the financial power but have increased demands.

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Recruitment in football is not just about talent; it's about context and luck. The success or failure of a season can drastically alter the perception of a player's performance. This element of luck adds an exciting but uncertain dimension to the recruitment process. 

From the outside, we have no idea what the club's expectations of a new signing are. Are they being signed to be first-team players regardless of age, and should they, therefore, contribute immediately? Are they performing well, but another player seizes his chance in their position, and they find their appearances limited? Did they pick up a series of unfortunate injuries and haven't been able to find a rhythm? Did the player pop up with crucial goals or performances in some games but go missing for months outside of that? Successes or failures?

We don't know what clubs look for specifically when they sign players, so it isn't easy to decide objectively what makes a good signing.

Rangers need a lot of players this summer, and the strategy will be focused primarily on bringing in younger players who can contribute now, fit the manager's tactical plan and be a candidate for a sizeable sale in a couple of years, thus allowing the process to come full circle. It is just a strategy, though, and it's not set in stone - Rangers will also need to add senior players and some on-pitch leaders to the mix. The market is also very fluid, and a player too good to pass up may become available - that's football. The ever-changing transfer market can present unexpected opportunities or challenges, such as a player becoming available who was previously off the radar or another receiving a lucrative offer from elsewhere, disrupting the recruitment plan. As the saying goes, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.

So far, the signings have all been in the first bracket. Players typically in the early stages of their careers and with potential for growth. Players who appear to fit the profile of the player Phillipe Clement is looking for, both physically and tactically.

These deals are financially rewarding for the players, who generally arrive from smaller leagues or clubs. These can be more straightforward to get done than experienced players playing at international tournaments with lots of potential offers and a club who may or may not want to sell them, so it makes sense they happen first.

One such move is the signing of 21-year-old Moroccan u-23 international Hamza Igamane from AS FAR Rabat. Igamane is already a league winner and was a member of the Morocco team that won last year's U23 African Cup of Nations. Whilst the expectations mentioned above and the pressure will be different at Ibrox, it's certainly better to have that experience than not.

He looks to be a typically modern forward, capable of playing in any of the three main attacking positions. Although he plays mainly as a centre forward, the heat map below shows that he is very busy, covering lots of ground and dropping to the left of the attack to impose himself on the game more often than the right.

(Image: StatsBomb)

Watching Igamane in action backs this up. He is very mobile, loves to take on defenders, and isn't afraid to be physical when the situation demands it. Given the need for more context around the quality of his domestic league or the opposition defenders, judging how good he can be is tricky. But that being said, he looks like he could play at a higher level. 

Igamane is predominantly right-footed but isn't afraid to take shots with his left, as seen in the clip above. He's comfortable using his body to put defenders off, reacting quickly to situations and taking control of them. He's more than happy to take early shots from a distance, which can catch defences out, but this needs to be well-balanced with some composure, too.

It's not uncommon for younger players to be proficient in several positions while still learning their craft. Hamza looks like he could be comfortable also playing as a wider attacker for Rangers in a 4-3-3 or potentially a 4-2-3-1. 

He is also effective out of possession, constantly pressing the opposition and looking to win the ball back high up the pitch. The defending in this league seems below par but his reactions and awareness are promising. He is always on his toes and alert to any potential weakness in the opposition when they have the ball. That's a transferable skill regardless of the opposition's quality. Rangers have been guilty of passivity at times when the opposition has the ball, so this quality could be a welcome addition to the attack. 

Igamane was the star of Morocco U23's friendly against Wales U21 back in March, scoring two well-taken goals and terrorising their centre-halves. Audacious lobs from distance, snappy approach play to create chances for himself, pressing defenders into making mistakes and being alert to capitalise on them. If this is a snapshot of what Rangers can expect regularly, he'll undoubtedly be a player who can excite the fanbase.

Rangers have tried a few different options as their primary centre forward in the last few years but have yet to succeed. Some have scored goals but needed improvement in other vital areas.

Given the variety of opposition Rangers face at home and abroad, a striker ideally needs to be able to score plenty of goals from plenty of chances and also be clinical enough to score the one big chance in big games. Comparing players playing in different teams and leagues at various levels and how they will adapt to a new environment will never be an exact science. Still, we should be able to roughly outline a player's strengths and weaknesses at this particular point in his career. 

Let's compare Igamane's performance using some key striker metrics against three of the more productive strikers in the SPFL last season. First, he only played half the minutes of Dessers and a third of Shankland and Miovski's, impacting the total goals scored.

(Image: WyScout)

Using per-90 metrics allows us to remove the minutes played bias. We want to see how productive the strikers were per 90 minutes on the pitch, regardless of how many games they played in a season. 

Seven goals scored for Igamane is not a lot, but when you break that down to goals per 90 minutes (removing penalties) as in the image below, you can see it's a better scoring rate than Shankland and not too lower than Miovski.

Rangers need strikers who are used to playing in high-possession teams, getting off a high number of shots, and obviously scoring goals. Goal Conversion % looks at how many shots a striker takes every game versus how many result in a goal.

(Image: WyScout)

It becomes clear that Miovski didn't get as many shots as the others (due in part to Aberdeen's abysmal season), but the efficiency and quality of his shooting resulted in a similar goal conversion rate to Dessers and Shankland. This begs an interesting question: Would Miovski still be as efficient if he played in a team that had more of the ball and took more shots? Would Shankland be even more efficient in a better team?

Hamza Igamane takes a lot of shots, almost as many as Dessers, who took the most per game in the SPFL last year. This is probably expected when playing for one of the better teams in his respective league, but for a young player, it's a lot. He's very involved in his team's attacking play.

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One interesting outlier above is the number of touches each striker manages per game in the box.  How often did we see Dessers take unnecessary additional touches and allow defences time to recover? Igamane takes similar shots per game to the Nigerian but does so with almost half the number of touches. Get your shots off quickly and precisely; the rewards will be there. Having a clinical, efficient striker could be crucial for Rangers. 

Efficiency is one thing, but quality is another entirely. The real quiz is a player who can do both.

As we know, Expected Goals assess the likelihood of scoring each shot based on several factors such as shot location, type of shot, and set piece, amongst others. It's used to judge quality, predict repeatability and add more depth than just judging every shot as equal.

(Image: WyScout)


As per above, you can see that Dessers, Miovski, and Igamane's goals to expected goals ratio is quite close. They are scoring as many goals as you would expect them to based on the quality of chances they get. This is not an exact science. In Dessers' case, he can sometimes be more likely to miss easier (high xG) chances and score harder (low xG) chances, meaning his numbers above probably end up balancing out whilst not painting the full picture.

Shankland is scoring goals at almost double the rate he would be expected to, which can mean one of two things. Either he is an excellent finisher who consistently scores difficult chances regularly, or we could start to see his goals potentially dry up should the quality of chances he receives stay at the same level. 

Expected goals per shot looks at the average quality of each shot taken by a player. For context, only Jordan White, with 0.17xG per shot, ranks better on this metric than Dessers in the SPFL last season.

So, Igamane is scoring goals at a rate you would expect based on the chances he received. The quality and efficiency of his shooting are comparable to those of the other three strikers, but at 21, he is significantly younger and could conceivably improve even further in the future.

Another aspect that can be improved is adding real quality and dynamism during Rangers' build-up, particularly players who can carry the ball and dominate one-on-one. Igamane looks comfortable with the ball at his feet. His link-up play with other midfielders and attackers is positive, albeit not currently the strongest aspect of his play.

He's a player who looks equally capable of taking the ball back to the goal to bring teammates into play as he is of dropping deep to receive the ball or drive towards the opposition box.

There's no doubt Igamane is another player signed with the longer term in mind. The young Moroccan has a very promising profile and looks to be someone you could see develop very well if everything goes to plan. He has had some domestic and international success already in his young career, but how he adapts to playing outside his home country in a different footballing environment is up for debate.