Glasgow Rangers have stuttered their way throughout the opening few months of the campaign. Many thought reaching the Champions League group stages following a playoff victory against PSV Eindhoven could spur the side on to greater heights, although it hasn’t quite worked out that way.
The Ibrox side finished bottom of their group, recording zero wins and scoring just twice, while their Premiership form recently has allowed Celtic to open up a seven-point gap at the top of the table.
It’s not all bad news for the club, however, as Giovanni van Bronckhorst might have just unearthed a rough diamond.
When Rangers signed Malik Tillman on loan from Bayern Munich in the summer, much was made of his potential, especially after making a handful of appearances for the German heavyweights. In the deal, it was revealed that the Light Blues have the option to buy the attacking midfielder for €7m (£6m) and this is something the club should be exercising over the winter break.
The 20-year-old is a raw talent and has sometimes struggled with the physicality of Scottish football, however, there have been glimpses of his potential while he has registered seven goal contributions in 23 matches this season.
Van Bronckhorst even heralded him as an “epic talent” back in August while Ibrox teammate John Lundstram has described the American as “one of the best young talents I’ve seen” and this is high praise from two key figures at the club.
£6m may sound like a big fee for Rangers, but this move could become an investment. With Van Bronckhorst seeing Calvin Bassey and Joe Aribo leave Ibrox for £23m and £10m respectively, there is no doubt Tillman could generate millions in profit for the club.
The youngster missed out on a place in the USA World Cup squad, yet this may be a blessing in disguise, as he could come back from this setback stronger and put together more consistent performances in the second half of the season.
The Dutchman should be trying to make his move permanent sooner rather than later, especially if he kicks on after Christmas and attracts attention from clubs with much greater financial resources than the Gers.
The pressure is on Van Bronckhorst, that’s for sure.