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Money lost: An “exciting” talent who made more than Sima ruined the Rangers

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When Glasgow Rangers let former head coach Michael Beale to approve a number of departures and signings, they completely rebuilt their playing roster the previous summer.

The departure of players such as Ryan Kent, Alfredo Morelos, Glen Kamara, Antonio Colak, and Scott Arfield—either on free transfers or for fees—made room for new players.

To expand his options throughout the park, Beale pounced on Abdallah Sima, Jack Butland, Jose Cifuentes, Kieran Dowell, Dujon Sterling, Danilo, Cyriel Dessers, Sam Lammers, and Leon Balogun.

Jack-Butland-Rangers

The Scottish powerhouses fired the English manager at the beginning of October because those additions did not produce the expected results on the field under his method.

After taking his place in the bench, Belgian tactician Philippe Clement won the League Cup final over Aberdeen, earning him his first trophy with the team.

The fact that two of Beale’s nine new additions were permitted to go on loan during the January transfer window was a scathing indictment on some of his deals.

After Cifuentes, who makes more money than Sima, humiliated the Gers at Ibrox, Clement permitted Cifuentes to move to Brazil and join Cruzeiro.

Amount paid by the Rangers to sign José Cifuentes

For a projected £1.2 million in the summer of 2023, the Scottish team pounced to recruit the Colombian central midfielder from MLS team Los Angeles FC on a four-year contract.

Beale called the young dynamo “exciting” and said he needed to prove himself on the field at Ibrox shortly after the transfer was official.

jose-cifuentes-ecuador-world-cup

He had made 121 appearances for LAFC during his time in America, having joined them from CD Universidad Católica in his home country in January 2020.

There were some warning signs for Rangers ahead of his move to Scotland, however, as his form in the MLS had dipped from the 2022 to the 2023 campaign.

Jose Cifuentes in the MLS 2022 2023
Appearances 36 19
Starts 29 13
Goals 7 1
Assists 6 3
Big chances created 11 5
Tackles per game 1.8 1.4
Dribbled past per game 1.1 1.4
Duel success rate 45% 43%
Stats via Sofascore
The table above illustrates how Cifuentes’ 2022 season performances were significantly better than his 2023 performances prior to his departure to Ibrox. Along with improved defensive performance, he offered more of a danger up top as he made more tackles and gave up less opportunities for opponents to dribble past him. In retrospect, Beale ought to have seen his diminishing performance for LAFC. Nevertheless, the English strategist might have believed that with his guidance and strategies at Rangers, he could return the midfield player to peak form. Regretfully, Cifuentes struggled during the first half of the 2023–24 season and did not get off to a strong start with Rangers before leaving the team on loan in January of this year.

The Rangers’ Jose Cifuentes stats

Before going on loan to Cruzeiro in February, the 25-year-old failure made over £400k in earnings over the course of about 27 weeks in Glasgow, according to Salary Sport. This indicates that the central midfielder cost Rangers almost £1.6 million during his seven months of employment. It’s unclear how much, if any, of the player’s salary is being paid for since he’s currently on loan.Jose Cifuentes

He is now under loan to the Brazilian team until December of this year, with the possibility to extend the agreement for an additional cost in order to make it permanent until the January transfer window of 2025.

Rangers may be hoping Cruzeiro will eventually exercise that option given his brief stay in Glasgow in order to recover a portion of the money they have already squandered on him.

During the first half of the season, Cifuentes made 20 appearances for the Gers in all competitions under Beale and Clement, including nine games in the Scottish Premiership.

23/24 Premiership Jose Cifuentes
Appearances 9
Goals 0
Assists 2
Red cards 1
Duel success rate 42%
Dribble success rate 13%
Stats via Sofascore
The aforementioned table illustrates how the Colombian international fared against the toughness of Scottish football, losing most of his duels and being overwhelmed by opposition defenders when he tried to dribble out of tackles. In the Europa League group stages, the Rangers midfielder lost an incredible 62% of his duels across five matches, underscoring his difficulties with the roughness of the game while wearing a Light Blues shirt.

The salary of Abdallah Sima with the Rangers

Sima now makes less than the midfielder and has been an excellent player for the team this season, while Cifuentes ruined the club on £16k per week with poor performances in the middle of the park, which caused Clement to approve an exit in January. According to Salary Sport, the Senegal international makes £8.5k a week; however, it is unclear how much he receives from Rangers and his parent club Brighton & Hove Albion. That means that during those 27 weeks, he made slightly more than £200k, while the former LAFC star made more than £400k.Rangers-Abdallah-Sima

Sima has excelled on the field for the Gers under both Beale and Clement this season, although making a lot less money than Cifuentes.

In the Scottish Premiership, only Dessers (12) and James Tavernier (14) have scored more goals than the Seagulls loanee, who has amassed ten goals in 15 starts.

In 33 appearances for the team across all competitions, the 22-year-old wizard has notched up 15 goals and two assists, including three goals (from 2.0 xG) in six starts in the Europa League.

With a goal per 1.5 starts in the league and every two starts in Europe, Sima, who has won 50% of his matches in the Premiership, has proven to be a reliable goalscorer for the Scottish powerhouses from a left wing position.

All things considered, the teenage winger has been an excellent addition to the Gers, consistently delivering top-tier play at the top of the pitch and serving as a vital player for Clement when healthy.

However, Cifuentes, who earns more per week, was a problem on the field due to his subpar performances, which is why the Light Blues wasted the approximately £1.6 million they paid for him.

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