Why Daler Kuzyaev would be a smart signing for Rangers
The 27-year-old is currently a free agent in the market after turning down a new contract at Zenit and has also attracted interest from Marseille, Besiktas, and Spanish side Alaves. (h/t Daily Record)
As per the report, Steven Gerrard is on the lookout for a quality midfield acquisition and has identified Kuzyaev as someone who fits the bill.
Daler Kuzyaev shot to prominence in the Russian second division before making his mark in the top-flight with Akhmat Grozny. The 27-year-old was signed by domestic giants Zenit back in the summer of 2017 after making 75 appearances for Grozny across all competitions.
The central midfielder played some of the best football of his career at Zenit, scoring 12 goals and registering 9 assists in 94 appearances. Kuzyaev won back-to-back Russian Premier League titles and the Russian Cup over the course of his trophy-laden stint at Zenit while also adding Champions League and Europa League experience to his CV.
A full international for Russia since 2017, Kuzyaev was an integral part of his nation’s squad that made it to the quarter-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Why Rangers need Kuzyaev
Rangers currently aren’t crying out for reinforcements in central midfield, with Gerrard well-stocked with options in the middle of the park. The Gers have enough competition for places in that department, with the likes of Steven Davis, Joe Aribo, Glen Kamara, Scott Arfield, and Ryan Jack all vying for spots every week.
Fringe midfielders like Greg Docherty, Jason Holt, Andy Halliday, and Ross McCrorie were either sold or loaned out earlier this summer. This can be seen as a genuine attempt by the Ibrox giants to trim their squad.
To that end, a new midfielder need not be a top priority for Rangers this summer, but they shouldn’t hesitate to make a new signing if the opportunity presents itself. A goalscoring midfielder with European and international experience under his belt, the availability of Daler Kuzyaev on a free transfer presents a perfect market opportunity for the Gers to capitalize.
The 27-year-old still has several years remaining in his prime. So, he can well evolve into a good long-term option for Rangers. Davis is nearing the twilight of his career at 35 and Kuzyaev’s impressive track record in Russia suggests that he can be the ideal successor to the Northern Irishman at Ibrox.
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Rangers have already made a massive statement of intent with the capture of Kemar Roofe, Cedric Itten, and Leon Balogun this summer. And a free transfer for Daler Kuzyaev would be another shrewd piece of business for Gerrard’s brigade.
A two-time title winner in his homeland, the Russian maestro knows what it takes to win silverware. And his winning mentality would go a long way towards helping the Gers end Celtic’s dominance.