Sky Sports pundit and former Celtic man Kris Commons believes the Parkhead club won’t be quaking in their boots over Rangers’ potential deal for Ianis Hagi.
It has been reported a fee has yet to be agreed for the Romanian playmaker’s services. However, the Ibrox club is said to be closing in on a deal for the Genk-owned star (BBC).
Hagi spent the second half of last season on loan in Govan. He made 12 appearances before lock-down, scoring three goals and assisting two.
Commons believes those stats suggest Hagi isn’t a player who’ll inject fear into those of a Celtic persuasion. Speaking in the Scottish Daily Mail, Commons said: “Look at Ryan Kent. He was signed for £7m from Liverpool at the start of last season and you’re thinking he’s the guy who’s going to stop Celtic. Kent made an initial impact and then, for the remainder of the season, he fell asleep. He didn’t really do anything.
“If Hagi is the man to sort Rangers, good for them, but I’d say it’s a risk. It’s a gamble. He’s not proven. It’s not like he’s come in and played for ten or 11 straight games for Rangers, scoring non-stop or making the kind of impact that makes you say ‘wow’.
“He’s good but, if he signed tomorrow, I don’t think Neil Lennon would be too bothered. If he signs, I don’t think Lennon would be urgently looking to the transfer market. I think he’s already on record saying he doesn’t need to make any more signings to get the ten.”
Hagi deal no game-changer
Hagi had a decent few months at Ibrox but it wasn’t anything more than that. His popularity at Rangers originated from two big moments. His display against Braga at Ibrox followed a crucial late winner at home to Hibs.
He came up big on two occasions and that helped create a narrative of Hagi making a bigger impact than he actually managed. After all, the stats don’t lie. Three goals and two assists in 12 games isn’t title-winning form.
For every big game Hagi produced in, there were several others in which his impact was non-existent. Not many people mention he was anonymous for 83 minutes in a 2-1 loss to Kilmarnock in February. The same goes for the full 90 in a 1-0 home embarrassment to Hamilton.
He failed to inspire against St Johnstone and Ross County too and you’ll have done well to spot him against Bayer Leverkusen when he was thrown on to change the game.
So Commons is spot on to say Celtic manager Neil Lennon will hardly be quivering with fear. After all, Hagi has yet to prove he alone is enough to eat into Celtic’s dominance.
In fact, Rangers were performing better in the first half of the season before the Romanian arrived. Celtic’s 13-point gap at the top of the Premiership table opened up when Hagi and his team-mates were failing to gather consistency.
If Rangers are serious about stopping ten-in-a-row next season, they can’t delude themselves into thinking this is their MVP signing.
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