It looks as though Rangers may have to wait another year to get their hands on a trophy.
There was a period when they were really pushing Celtic for the Scottish Premiership title but, even though the Gers have a game in hand, they are 13 points behind with nine matches left. They failed to win the Scottish League Cup, too, whilst they are also out of the Scottish Cup. And, although there is a second leg still to come, they are 3-1 down on aggregate against Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League.
They will be looking to rectify their lack of silverware next season, though, and keeping hold of the likes of Ianis Hagi will be vital.
The Romania international joined on loan from Genk in January, and already has three goals and two assists in 11 games. There have been rumours that Lazio have been sniffing around, but Rangers cannot afford to lose out.
Fortunately for Steven Gerrard, a report from the Glasgow Times published earlier this week suggests that Hagi is eager to remain at the club beyond his initial loan deal.
Here are three reasons why they must keep the 21-year-old…
As mentioned before, Hagi has already contributed three goals and two assists during his time in Scotland, of which two and one respectively arrived in three Europa League matches. Compared to some of his Gers teammates, Hagi’s stats in that particular competition make for interesting reading.
Other than Alfredo Morelos, he is the only player to score more than once in the competition, whilst the 1.3 key passes he has averaged per match is the third-most for Gerrard’s side, and the most amongst the midfielders. It is also more than Ryan Kent, on whom they spent £6.5m last year – he has managed just 0.9 per game in that tournament.
Clearly, Hagi has given the Ibrox outfit a creative lift from midfield – that could be essential moving forward.
Genk paid €8m (£7.3m) for Hagi last summer and, although he didn’t become a guaranteed starter in Belgium, he did quite well in the Jupiler League, managing three goals and four assists.
He already has 10 caps for his country, and he scored twice in four games in the U21 European Championships – he is a player with pedigree, and not just because his father is Romanian legend Gheorghe.
All of that makes the rumoured €5m (£4.5m) purchase option in his contract an absolute bargain. For that price, Rangers cannot afford to pass him up.
By trade, Hagi is an attacking midfielder – as per Transfermarkt, he has played 57 games there, scoring 23 goals and providing 14 assists. However, even in his short career to date, he has played in a number of different positions.
He has already lined up on the right-wing, the left-wing, at centre-forward and in central midfield, proving himself to be a versatile footballer.
Not only that, he is also two-footed according to Transfermarkt, meaning that he essentially doesn’t have a weak foot. He is technically gifted and will not be under pressure if he can’t use the foot he prefers – there are few players like that around.
Moving forward, that could be worth its weight in gold to Gerrard.