Are Rangers on the verge of signing Leicester City's Joe Dodoo?
As Rangers prepare for their first season back in the Scottish Premier League since their liquidation in 2012, manager Mark Warburton has set about bolstering his squad with the addition of eight new players over the course of the summer. If reports are to be believed then a ninth player could be arriving this week in the form of Leicester City’s Joe Dodoo. But who is he, and what can he add to the Gers side?
For starters, Dodoo is a 21-year-old forward who has only made four appearances for Claudio Ranieri’s side. The Ghanaian-born youngster made his debut in a League Cup Second Round tie away at Bury last August. And it was some debut at that. Dodoo scored a hat-trick as Leicester romped to a 4-1 victory and his performance drew praise from Ranieri, as well as Bury boss David Flitcroft, who declared that he would love to sign the player on loan if possible.
Dodoo’s first goal was worthy of a much grander stage. He controlled a Leonardo Ulloa pass just outside the area, nonchalantly flicked the ball over Bury full-back Chris Hussey before lashing a right footed shot high into the net, leaving the goalkeeper helpless and both sets of supporters purring over what they had just witnessed. His second goal came late in the game, and showcased another side to his game as he latched on to a through ball and left the Bury defence trailing in his wake before slotting home from a tight angle. The hat-trick came a few minutes later thanks to some calamitous defending from the Shakers on the edge of their own area gifted the ball to Jeffrey Schlupp who played Dodoo in to secure Leicester’s spot in the next round.
It was an extremely composed performance from the youngster, who did not look like he was playing his first ever senior match. After the game, Leicester supporters called for the forward to feature in their upcoming league game against Bournemouth. The Foxes had started off the season fantastically, and although he was not able to displace Jamie Vardy from the starting eleven at Dean Court, he did make an appearance as a second-half substitute as his side drew 1-1. That would be his only contribution in Leicester’s miraculous title-winning campaign, but Dodoo had done enough to keep his place for the next round of the League Cup where Ranieri’s men took on West Ham United. Again, Dodoo scored as the Foxes progressed to the third round. There they would meet Hull City and Ranieri kept his faith in the youngster, but he could not repeat his feats from the previous two rounds as Leicester crashed out.
With the Foxes flying high at the top end of the Premier League, Dodoo was forced to head out on loan in order to get his fix of regular first-team football. Upon hearing of his availability, Bury jumped at the chance to bring in the man who had wreaked such havoc against them just three months previous. His time at Gigg Lane got off to the perfect start, with a 1-0 win over Burton Albion, which came courtesy of Jerome Binnom-Williams turning a Dodoo cross into his own net. Although he failed to score in his next four games before returning to his parent club, Dodoo insisted that he had thoroughly enjoyed his spell with the Shakers.
His performances for Bury presumably caught the eye of Warburton, who invited the player to train with Rangers this pre-season. The Glasgow-based club are apparently confident of sealing a deal for Dodoo, who has also been offered a new deal by Leicester. Warburton is confident that he will land his target as the prospect of playing first-team football at Ibrox is likely to be extremely tempting to the youngster.
If Rangers do pull off the signing then they will be getting a hugely exciting player with an eye for goal and bags of potential. Dodoo is capable of operating both through the middle and out wide, with his ability to carry the ball at pace a huge advantage when playing on the counter attack. Whilst at Bury he was noticeably more confident on the ball than the majority of others at League One level, and although his final ball was found wanting at times there is certainly a lot for Warburton to work with.
Whether Dodoo should make the move is a different matter. At 21, his career is at a crossroads and a move north of the border may well present him with a perfect opportunity to make a name for himself. Alternatively, he could remain at the King Power Stadium and take the gamble that he will be given an opportunity to prove himself by Ranieri. However, with the likes of Vardy and Riyad Mahrez likely to be in his way for yet another year, a move to Ibrox may well be on the cards for the 21-year-old.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Alex Hannam