If the impending exit of Daniel Candeias is confirmed it will be, for some, a sad time and for others, a sign that progress is being made. An impending transfer in either direction gets us reminiscing or looking at the ‘obligatory YouTube clip’. For the diminutive Portguesean…Portugalian…man from Portugal, there is a common consensus amongst Rangers fans – his effort levels have never been in doubt. In this player analysis I’ll look at what we’ll miss, if anything, when the wee man leaves.

Candeias’ 2018/19 contribution

Divided opinion

There seem to be three camps with regards to Candeias. Love him, love him but he’s not quite good enough moving forward or he’s garbage. I think there is a way to describe Candeias. He can have a disaster of a game, a real stinker but, set up the only goal in a 1-0 win. So, he’s helped win the game but also missed a sitter and spunked several crossing opportunities out for goal kicks. He’s had a disaster but he’s also ran himself into the ground, covered James Tavernier, put pressure on defenders and the goalkeeper and created chances from his own endeavours.

All about the effort

There is another example of what best sums up Daniel Candeias. The third goal v Rapid Vienna at Ibrox in last season’s Europa League. He cleared the ball from the edge of his own box up to near the half-way line. As the defender takes a (heavy) touch, Candeias is already closing him down. Before he can make his second, Candeias has made the challenge. Facing his own goal on the half-way line, he then perfectly executes a backheel into the path of the on-rushing Alfredo Morelos to calmly slide the ball under the goalkeeper. Peak Candeias.

It was into injury time, with Rangers winning the game and he charged down his own 40-yard clearance and had the awareness to play the pass. I doubt we will see many players at the club, especially those without a Rangers connection, display such doggedness and determination.

Candeias’ creativity

There was a statistic being banded around last season about Candeias that in every game he will create at least one good chance. It may take 50 crosses for that one chance but still, that’s not a bad claim to make. Last season due to Jamie Murphy’s unfortunate injury and Eros Grezda’s ineptitude, Candeias played all but one league game. He played them all the season before. He’s robust, athletic, consistently available. What isn’t consistent is his finishing. With just 11 league goals in his two season, it’s easy to see why people would complain about his output. A forward playing for Rangers should be making double digits for goals and assists. If he’d displayed the same level of prowess as he did against Marseille last weekend he’d probably have reached those figures!

Change of style

Candeias’ natural game is to hug the touchline. Play combinations with Tavernier and get the ball into the box. I still think some of his best performances how come when he has been playing narrower, as a forward rather than a winger. His energy and pressing are so important in this position. When Ryan Kent missed a couple of games at the end of last season, Candeias was outstanding in the ‘inside forward’ role. He was, in fact, unlucky to be dropped on Kent’s return.

Good business sense?

He will be 32 at the end of the season so a new contract was unlikely. There are still plenty miles left in the tank though and he will do a shift in any shirt. If we get anything around £300-400k I think it makes sense. His age, ability, contract status but more importantly, squad status all affect his value. Remember we were trying to get Jordan Jones for not much more and he is ten years younger, quicker and can beat a player from a standing start. Think about it this way, selling Candeias pays for Joe Aribo. Not a bad deal that. Yes, we would rather Joe Dodoo, Kyle Lafferty and Eros Grezda went first but you can only sell if a bid comes in. I’d hazard a guess that Candeias’ wage is bigger than the likes of Jake Hastie and Greg Stewart too. Every little thing helps.

Has Candeias’ output been replaced?

Have we replaced his output? For me, yes. Can the other players match his work rate though? Sheyi Ojo has already shown he’s not work-shy, as with Jones and Hastie. Jamie Murphy is still on the right tracks and demonstrated in just six months (prior to injury) the numbers he can create plenty of chances. Five goals and ten assists in twenty-four games, matching Candeias’ numbers in twenty fewer games.

What you can’t replace is his effervescence. He is one of those players that brings other players up with him. When Candeias presses, others go with him, they can’t help but be dragged along by the wave of effort. We’ll miss having him about, as will Tavernier and Morelos, they never seemed far apart in training. It’s my one fear with Candeias, Morelos’ best mate will be away. Does this make his decision to leave easier? Candeias goes with our blessing, we thank him for his effort and wish him luck for the future. A former Player of the Year and his contributions in Europe last year deserve that. All the best wee man – BOA SORTE!

Total Football Analysis Magazine #11: July 2019 - tactical analysis tactics
Artwork by @chapulana

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