Steven Gerrard finally got what he wanted all along when Bongani Zungu joined Glasgow Rangers on loan from Amiens last month, but the South Africa international is yet to make his debut for the Ibrox outfit thus far.
Rangers signed Zungu from the French Ligue 2 side on an initial loan deal on transfer deadline day. He has been named in the South Africa squad for their upcoming AFCON qualifiers as his quarantine restrictions in Scotland have come to an end following his loan move from Amiens.
Speaking to the This Is Ibrox podcast, South African journalist Lorenz Köhler believes Gerrard must unleash his countryman sooner rather than later.
“In my opinion, he’s best as a box-to-box midfielder because he’s an all-action player who just wants to be involved,” he said.
“He likes to take the game by the scruff of its neck.
“It’s going to sound ludicrous…when Yaya Toure left Barcelona, he was playing as a centre-back. He came to the Premier League and the manager saw that ‘this guy isn’t a centre-back’.
“I think the same can be said to Gerrard. He’ll take one look and say ‘this guy is not a defensive midfielder’. Unleash him. Let him be free, let him go forward. He’s got a bit of height to him, he can score from headers, he can find the top corner. He can do everything.”
The summer signing has been pictured training ahead of the club’s Europa League clash with Benfica.
Zungu was an unused substitute against Lech Poznan last week, but was not included in the squad for the away trip to Kilmarnock on Sunday.
Whilst we have to admit that it’s highly unlikely the South African will start, as Glen Kamara, Steven Davis and Scott Arfield have all impressed in recent weeks, the midfielder may make an appearance as an impact substitute from the bench.
The 28-year-old has a decent personal record against the Portuguese giants, as he has previously scored one goal in four games, although it’s worth pointing out the fact that he has lost every fixture so far.
Last season, he played 21 games in Ligue 1, averaging more than one tackle and one clearance per game, via WhoScored. By comparison, even Arfield is managing fewer than one tackle and one clearance per game in the Scottish Premiership this season so far, as per WhoScored.
Flavio Meireles, the sporting director from Vitoria de Guimaraes, once hailed the South African powerhouse as a “special talent”, whilst Amiens sporting director John Williams insisted “he can do everything.”
If that isn’t enough to convince Gerrard to consider his options, we don’t know what will be. The Gers have the option to buy Zungu outright if he can impress the club during his loan spell at Ibrox. He just needs to get some minutes under his belt in order to demonstrate his value – the sooner he gets the time to shine, the better. Otherwise, what was even the point of signing him in the first place?