Why Rangers should reignite their interest in Isaac Atanga
Back in July, a report from Ghanaian outlet Kickgh (h/t Daily Record) had mentioned FC Nordsjaelland winger Isaac Atanga as a potential target for Scottish giants Rangers. However, the Gers eventually turned their attention elsewhere and roped in the likes of Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten to bolster their attack before the summer deadline.
Isaac Atanga started his footballing education at the widely acclaimed Right to Dream academy in Ghana before moving to Europe with Danish outfit FC Nordsjaelland in the summer of 2018. Atanga scored 10 times in 23 appearances for Nordsjaelland’s U-19 side and backed it up with 6 goals in 9 games for the reserves.
His prolific form eventually paved the way for a senior professional debut towards the back end of the 2018-19 season. The 20-year-old established himself as a key player for the Danish club last term. Atanga bagged 7 goals and 4 assists in 25 Danish Superligaen appearances in 2019-20 as Nordsjaelland finished 6th in the standings.
The Ghanaian U-20 international has kicked on from where he had signed off last season, scoring twice in 7 appearances for Nordsjaelland in the ongoing campaign.
Atanga would add more depth to Rangers’ attack
Rangers are pretty well-stocked in their wide attacking options following the capture of versatile players like Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten in the summer. Roofe has enjoyed a positive start to his career at Ibrox, despite battling injuries. He recently scored an incredible goal from inside his own half to guide Rangers to a 2-0 win over Standard Liege in the Europa League.
Itten, though, has struggled to make a big impact, starting only once in the Scottish Premiership so far. It might be too early to pass a definitive judgement on his credentials but the Swiss star will need to do a lot more to establish himself firmly in Steven Gerrard’s plans.
Ianis Hagi and Ryan Kent have been the manager’s go-to options out wide to complement the undisputed No.9 Alfredo Morelos in his preferred three-man attack. While both players have been in exceptional form so far, question marks continue to linger over the quality of some of the back-ups in that department.
Brandon Barker, Jordan Jones, and Greg Stewart just haven’t done enough to inspire much confidence with their displays since joining the ranks at Ibrox in 2019. The three players have shared only 6 goals among them from a combined 66 appearances, which is enough to explain the drop in quality when Gerrard relies on them.
Suffice to say, Rangers need a quality wide attacker to reduce the workload on the likes of Hagi and Kent, and renewing interest in Isaac Atanga would definitely make a lot of sense in footballing terms. The Ghanaian starlet has been making waves with his impressive performances in Denmark over the past 12 months. He would surely fit the bill as an excellent addition to Rangers’ long-term plans.
Essentially a right-footed player, Atanga is capable of operating on either flank and also through the centre as a striker. Hence, a potential deal for the 20-year-old in January would hand a timely boost to Gerrard’s depth and quality in the final third, while also improving squad dynamics to an extent.
- Why Dan Glazer to Rangers would bolster their midfield
- Why Rangers should continue their pursuit of Patrik Hrosovsky
Isaac Atanga is still very much in his formative years but his eye-catching goal returns in Denmark clearly suggest that he has the potential to go on and play at a higher level. The 20-year-old might not be a regular starter at Rangers if a move does materialise in January or next summer, but he would be a quality back-up.
The Gers, though, would first need to move on underachievers like Barker, Stewart and Jones to make room for the Ghanaian.