Rangers endured howler with Juninho Bacuna

Glasgow Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson worked hard throughout the January transfer window to secure two key additions to Michael Beale‘s squad at Ibrox.

The Light Blues chief was able to secure the signatures of both Todd Cantwell and Nicolas Raskin, from Norwich and Standard Liege respectively, to bolster the team’s options in the middle of the park.

It remains to be seen whether either of the new arrivals will be a roaring success at Ibrox, but Wilson has had mixed success in the transfer market during his time in Glasgow.

One player with whom the former Southampton chief had a howler was midfielder Juninho Bacuna, who arrived at Rangers from Huddersfield in the summer of 2021.

At the time of the move, then-Light Blues manager Steven Gerrard stressed that patience was needed with the maestro, and that he required the right environment in order to grow and develop as a player.

The 42-year-old also hailed Bacuna by saying: “He is an attacking midfielder, he has got [a] good range of passing and he is a powerful boy, so he has got a lot of tools in his locker, so if he can put everything around that and we can give him the right place to evolve, then he should be a big player for this club.”

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Where is Juninho Bacuna now?

However, Gerrard departed to join Aston Villa in November of that season and Bacuna only made 12 first-team appearances for the Gers – scoring once and setting up three goals – before being sold to Birmingham City in January 2022 for an undisclosed fee.

Despite Gerrard stating that Rangers had to be patient with the midfielder, the 25-year-old lasted a mere six months at Ibrox before being moved on, and his form since moving south of the border suggests that the decision to sanction his exit was a howler by Wilson.

In the English Championship last term, the Curacao international averaged a Sofascore rating of 6.98 across 17 appearances in the division and made 1.3 key passes per match – creating six ‘big chances’ in total for his team-mates – along with averaging 2.5 tackles and interceptions per game.

This season, the magician has created six ‘big chances’ and set up four goals in 24 matches, whilst making 2.3 tackles and interceptions per outing. This shows that Bacuna has the quality to regularly deliver quality in the final third to go along with his strong defending.

Meanwhile, none of Rangers’ central midfielders with at least two appearances has managed more than one assist or more than 1.1 key passes per match in the Premiership in 2022/23.

Was selling Bacuna a mistake?





Birmingham manager John Eustace described the former Huddersfield man as a “leader” and hailed his “exceptional” ability earlier this season, which indicates that Bacuna is making an impact on and off the pitch at St Andrew’s.

Whilst the magician may be viewed as a flop at Ibrox, given his short time at the club, his form in England suggests that Wilson had a howler in allowing the creative genius to depart; and that the chief should have been patient – as Gerrard urged the club to be – and spent more time helping Bacuna to fulfill his potential.