Kenny Miller Confident in £1.5m Target’s Immediate Impact on Michael Beale’s Starting XI

Former Rangers striker Kenny Miller has expressed his confidence in the immediate impact Ecuadorian midfielder Jose Cifuentes will make in Michael Beale’s starting XI, once his move from MLS club Los Angeles FC is finalized this month. The long-anticipated transfer has finally been confirmed, with Cifuentes set to become a free agent in December.

“It is getting closer. There are logistics with that one and work permits and everything else that goes in between it,” Beale disclosed to Sky Sports regarding the potential signing of the Ecuador international. “The clubs (Rangers and LAFC) are still talking. He’s out of contract at the end of the year, and we have an agreement (to sign him). We would like to bring it to close early so he can join us in this window.”

Miller, who boasts three Scottish Premiership titles with Rangers, believes that Cifuentes will waste no time securing a prominent role in the heart of Beale’s midfield. The Ecuadorian midfielder is expected to form a dynamic partnership with January recruit Nicolas Raskin, creating an exciting prospect for the team.

“I think Cifuentes and Raskin will play as a two,” Miller stated during a conversation with Clyde SuperScoreboard.

Acknowledged as an “incredibly talented” player by LAFC coach Steve Cherundolo, Cifuentes is characterized as an all-rounder rather than a specialized player like Todd Cantwell. He has shown his versatility by comfortably breaking up attacks as well as being instrumental in constructing them himself. In the 2022 season, only two LAFC players averaged more tackles per game than Cifuentes, who also impressively contributed seven goals and six assists at the opposite end of the pitch.

Miller further asserts that if Cifuentes were to join Rangers, it would likely relegate John Lundstram, Ryan Jack, Kieran Dowell, and the Leeds-linked Glen Kamara to the bench.

Moreover, if Miller were in Beale’s shoes, he would consider giving Jack Butland, Danilo, Sam Lammers, and Cyriel Dessers their first Premiership starts in the league opener away to Kilmarnock on Saturday.

“I’ll give you my back four; You’ll have Butland in goal, (James) Tavernier, (Connor) Goldson, (John) Souttar, and you’ll have (Borna) Barisic,” Miller revealed his preferred defensive lineup.

“I think Cifuentes and Raskin will play as a two. And ahead of that, you’ll have Cantwell and Lammers or (Tom) Lawrence. And I think you might see Danilo and Dessers as a front two.”