An update has emerged on Rangers loanee Cedric Itten, regarding a potential change in style for the Ibrox forward under Giovanni van Bronckhorst.
Responding to a fan’s question about loan players suiting van Bronckhorst’s squad, The Athletic’s Jordan Campbell named the attacker as an ‘interesting case’.
The report claimed that he was told Itten had been training to play in a similar way to Tottenham’s £108m-rated striker Harry Kane, in the way that he drops deep to receive the ball.
“Cedric Itten is an interesting case. When I watched him at St Gallen, it was obvious he was not a target man primarily. But Gerrard tended to start him from the right as a way to play towards him diagonally.
“I don’t think it played to his strengths and I was told in the summer, in the lead-up to the Malmo first leg he had to start because Alfredo Morelos was suspended, that Itten had been working on dropping deep in a way that replicated the role Harry Kane has carved out at Tottenham.”
The Gers have a number of players currently out on loan and van Bronckhorst may want to run the rule over them heading into January, in case he decides that he wants to recall them to utilise their talents in the second half of the campaign.
Instead of asking Ross Wilson to splash the cash on expensive additions to the squad, the Dutchman could bring Itten – for example – back to Ibrox and look to make him a success. This could save the club millions in the transfer window and make for an intriguing tactical tweak in the coming months.
The £14k-per-week gem, who was once dubbed “superb” by ex-Gers boss Steven Gerrard, could slot perfectly into the way van Bronckhorst’s team has set up since his arrival if he is able to play in a similar way to Kane.
If Itten can drop deep to receive the ball on the half-turn before spinning and firing the ball into the space he vacated then it could be a masterstroke by the Dutchman.
Ryan Kent and Fashion Sakala, who played in the wide roles vs Hearts, have pace to burn and could make runs inside their full-backs into the space Itten leaves – latching onto the Swiss striker’s passes to go through on goal. Scott Arfield and Joe Aribo have also made a similar run from deep that could suit this style of play, with both scoring goals by making runs past the attacker.
Itten scored 36 goals in 63 games for St Gallen, showing that he has the ability to be a regular goalscorer to go along with his potential stylistic suitability to van Bronckhorst’s side, but he is yet to fulfil his potential for Rangers.
By bringing him back to the club in January and utilising him in this new role, the ex-Feyenoord coach could get the best out of him.