Rangers now favourites to sign exciting former Celtic target as Beale aims to close gap

Michael Beale during a Rangers training session

With Michael Beale keen to bolster Rangers’ attack, the club is reportedly confident of penning a deal for former Celtic target Ahmed Kendouci in January, something Hoops fans may regret come the end of the season.

Football Scotland revealed on Wednesday that talks are underway for Rangers to sign the Algerian attacking midfielder on a loan-to-buy agreement, but they could face stiff competition for his signature.

Kendouci is currently the top scorer in the Algerian top flight after shining for his boyhood club ES Setif this season, so it’s clear to see why Beale is keen on the forward.

So far, the exciting, flair-filled attacking midfielder has contributed 11 goals and 11 assists. Last season, he managed eight goals and six assists respectively.  

Considering Rangers have scored 16 goals less than Celtic so far this season with Alfredo Morelos, Fashion Sakala and Ryan Kent struggling for form, 23-year-old Kendouci could be a valuable acquisition.  

The Algerian has made over 100 appearances for ES Setif and has already earned himself a cap for his country, too, so Kendouci has plenty of experience for a young player.

Kendouci’s creativity is “out of this world”

Stats website Total Football Analysis ranks Kendouci as one of the most exciting talents in African football, describing him as “out of this world.”

They said: “In our data analysis on central midfielders, Kendouci stood out both for creating chances and for scoring them, being one of the best in most attacking statistics.

“Kendouci is a left-footed central midfielder who can also play as a left midfielder… Average sized (1.76m), he’s well-built and fast for a central midfielder.

“His creative passing figures are out of this world.

“He ranks in the top 10% for the following metrics: shot assists (1.36 per 90), deep completions (1.33 per 90), expected assists (0.18 per 90), assists (0.23 per 90), smart passes (1.26 per 90), key passes (0.73 per 90) and through passes (2.42 per 90).

“But apart from creating chances, Kendouci also stands out as a finisher himself. He gets into the box a lot and poses a big goal threat, both with late runs into the box or runs in behind from midfield.

“His 0.26 goals from 0.19 xG per 90 confirm this and both statistics are again among the best.”

Rangers’ prospective deal for Kendouci, however, is made more awkward by the Gers favouring an initial loan-to-buy agreement with ES Setif, on the other hand, preferring a permanent transfer.

However, a report by HITC today suggested that there is a ‘quiet confidence’ in the Rangers camp that an agreement can be reached.

It was only 11 months ago when Celtic were reportedly battling Rangers for the Algerian’s signature, so they will be gutted if he lives up to his sky-high potential.

One thing is for sure, if Rangers want to stop their rivals from winning another league title, they need attacking reinforcements in January.

Furthermore, Kendouci could be a key part of the Beale revolution at Ibrox.