Cedric Itten’s days at Rangers could be numbered after the arrival of Fashion Sakala, with the striker having failed to impress in his first season in Steven Gerrard’s side at Ibrox.
Rangers confirmed earlier this week that they had completed a deal for Sakala, who will join on a free transfer from Belgian Pro League side KV Oostende in the summer when his contract expires.
The 24-year-old has scored 13 goals so far this season and has found his scoring boots with the Belgian outfit after failing to make the grade at Spartak Moscow, so will be hoping to continue his fine form at Ibrox next season.
It seems likely that he will compete with Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe for a starting spot in Gerrard’s side, which could be bad news for Itten, who has struggled for regular game time since joining from St Gallen last summer in a £3m deal.
The Switzerland international has managed just six goals in his debut campaign at Ibrox, although he has been limited to just nine starts in all competitions, with the majority of his appearances for Gerrard’s side coming from the bench.
However, his performances have earned him a less than impressive 6.43 average WhoScored rating in the Premiership, which ranks him as the fifth-worst performer in Gerrard’ current squad this season, so he could quickly find himself surplus to requirements next season if Sakala impresses in a Rangers shirt.
In recent fixtures, 38-year-old Jermaine Defoe has been preferred to Itten from the bench, with the Swiss striker’s last appearance coming in the 1-1 draw with St Johnstone last month. That day, he earned a poor 6.32 WhoScored rating for his performance, whereas Defoe was the man to come off the bench in the 4-1 Old Firm derby win, marking it with a goal.
With recent reports suggesting that the veteran striker could stay at Ibrox for another year, it is difficult to see where Itten fits in as he hasn’t shown much this season to suggest that he will be able to displace Morelos or Roofe in the starting XI at Rangers next term.
Therefore, it could be fair to suggest that his Ibrox days are numbered unless he can drastically improve his performances next season, and it will be interesting to see who out of him and Sakala can impress Gerrard the most in the 2021/22 campaign.