Gio van Bronckhorst ended the 2021/22 campaign on a high as Rangers won the Scottish Cup at Hampden Park on Saturday.
The Gers missed out on the Premiership title by four points to their arch-rivals and lost in the final of the Europa League but were able to sign off the season with a trophy, the Dutchman’s first in charge of the Glasgow giants.
Although they will be disappointed to miss out on the league and European titles, it was an impressive debut year at the helm on the whole for the retired full-back.
He led the team to a Europa League final and won the Scottish Cup and will now be looking ahead to next season with an eye on winning the Premiership back off the Hoops.
Some of his success can be put down to Ross Wilson’s work in the market last summer as the sporting director bolstered the squad with fresh additions. He brought in John Lundstram and Fashion Sakala on free transfers, and both played big roles throughout the campaign.
However, things could have been different in that area of the pitch, as The Chronicle reported just over a year ago that Rangers had made enquiries over a potential deal to sign Jacob Murphy from Newcastle United.
The winger, who joined the Magpies in a £12m deal from Norwich in 2017, was a target for the Glasgow giants before they landed Sakala, but he ended up staying on Tyneside instead of making the switch to Scotland.
Now that the season is finished, it is clear that Rangers avoided a disaster in missing out on a deal for the English attacker. The 27-year-old has endured a rough year with Newcastle, where he has struggled for form and game-time under both Steve Bruce and Eddie Howe.
Murphy has also been embroiled in controversy in the past. Arsenal legend Martin Keown previously accused the forward of diving in a Premier League match, saying: “It’s so wrong. The referee needs to punish that. It’s simulation. It’s annoying. He is trying to gain an advantage. He is trying to cheat the referee.”
Do Rangers want players who attempt to ‘cheat the referee’, as Keown put it?
Certainly not when their statistics are also off-putting. Murphy managed just 13 starts in the top-flight for the Toon and averaged an underwhelming SofaScore rating of 6.68. He found the the net once, whilst missing four ‘big chances’, and only created 0.6 chances per game as he managed a mere two assists.
As a result of his poor form, his value has plummeted to £3.6m on Transfermarkt. This is a whopping £8.4m drop from the £12m that they paid for him initially and proves that he has been unable to live up to the hype in black and white.
His statistics do not suggest that he would have been a better signing for Rangers than Sakala, and that is why the club avoided a big blunder with Murphy last summer.