This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, Gavin Rae has revealed the one Rangers player he wouldn’t have sold this summer – Daniel Candeias.
The Portuguese winger was sold to Turkish side Genclerbirligi last month for the modest sum of £250,000, per The Scottish Sun, and Rae would’ve liked Rangers to hang onto the 31-year-old.
The wide-man was a prominent fixture in Steven Gerrard’s starting XI last season, racking up 52 appearances in his second and final season at Ibrox. The winger was productive too, scoring six and setting up another 12 as the Gers finished second in the Premiership.
Despite his importance to the side he was moved on, and when asked which player Rae wished the club had held onto this summer, he said: “Candeias was a good player, for the most part, while he was at the club. But he has moved on and that is fair enough.”
Rae’s concession that he wanted to hold onto the ex-Benfica man, yet isn’t heartbroken that he’s found pastures new in Turkey, is a fair assessment of his time at Ibrox.
The wide-man played nearly 100 times for the club and was a popular figure with the fans, but his loss won’t be felt as much as you’d anticipate when losing a player who featured so many times in Gerrard’s debut campaign.
18 goal contributions in 52 games last season is respectable but at a side who have clear ambitions of reaching the summit of Scottish football and making serious inroads in European competition, you’d expect those numbers to be higher – James Forrest racked up 38 goal contributions last season from a similar position, despite Celtic scoring less goals than the Gers.
The Portuguese winger was a hard-working player that supplemented the incredible James Tavernier well, but recouping any sort of fee for a 31 year-old, while creating space for new signings Sheyi Ojo, Greg Stewart and Jordan Jones, could allow the club to make the step-up from contenders to champions.
That said, should the new arrivals fail to flourish in their new environment, Rae’s suggestion that it was a mistake to dump Candeias could well come to the fore, and perhaps be a black mark on what has otherwise been a successful summer.