Five things Rangers fans should know about Diego Poyet

Diego, left, with dad Gus Poyet, right, meeting Pele at an event last year. Picture: Getty
Diego, left, with dad Gus Poyet, right, meeting Pele at an event last year. Picture: Getty
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Rangers have been linked with Diego Poyet, son of English football favourite Gus, after the 21-year-old left West Ham United earlier this summer. Here’s everything Rangers fans should know about their prospective new signing.

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He’s training with Derby County

Rangers will face a battle to land the young midfielder, seeing as he’s already training with English Championship side Derby County, according to reports south of the border. That being said, there was supposed to be a host of clubs queuing up to sign him when he left West Ham in late August and yet he’s still a free agent. Just because he’s training with Steve McClaren’s side, doesn’t mean both parties are keen on a deal.

He won Charlton’s Player of the Year despite playing half a season

Poyet only made his Addicks debut on 21 January but was awarded the Player of the Year honour at the conclusion of the 2013-14 campaign, emerging as the standout talent on a team that defied the odds to escape relegation with a terrific end-of-season run. Aged just 19 when he received the award, it marked him as a standout talent and had a host of bigger clubs chasing his signature. Unfortunately for Charlton, his meteoric rise proved too difficult to stay in front of, as they failed to tie him down to a long-term deal and he was allowed to join West Ham United on freedom of contract for a modest fee. It was described at the time as a “coup” for the East London club.

READ MORE - How Joey Barton became this season’s worst signing

He’s coming off three disappointing loan moves

It wasn’t just at the Boleyn Ground where Poyet struggled for first-team football. Each of his three loan spells while still a West Ham player - at Huddersfield, MK Dons and Charlton - saw him feature fewer times than his parent club would have wanted. The decision to rejoin Charlton proved to be doubly frustrating. Despite working with the same manager, Jose Riga, who used him so effectively during his first spell, he still rarely rose from the substitutes bench as Charlton were relegated from the second tier last season.

He suits Rangers’ system

Poyet sounds very much like a Mark Warburton signing - if you ignore the uncharacteristic fascination with big-name 30-somethings this past summer. He’s young, he’s cheap and he’s a technically proficient footballer. Poyet plays as the defensive midfielder, looking to break up play in front of the back four. He’s effective at making interceptions and is a strong tackler. In possession, the ball tends to move sideways rather than forward, so he may not be the answer to Rangers’ frustrations in attack, but at least he should provide the back four with additional cover should any move for his services be successful. Where that would leave Jordan Rossiter and Matt Crooks, both of whom were added to the squad this summer to do a similar job, remains to be seen.

He’s already been burned by social media

As a 16-year-old, Poyet made some quite cutting remarks about Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing on Twitter. Poyet learned a harsh lesson, like so many others in the spotlight, with regards to social media: when you publish something, it doesn’t just disappear into the ether, and can come back to bite you. Both of those players became his team-mates at West Ham when Poyet made his move and, fair play to them, were quite forgiving about such remarks as...

“I went to subway and asked for the greasiest, biggest and most expensive sub they had. They gave me Andy Carroll.”

“£27m got Danny Boyle the queen, James Bond, Mohammad Ali [sic], Beckham, Wiggins, Redgrave and a cast of 1000s. Liverpool got Andy Carroll for £35m.”

“Stewart Downing is one of the worst players I’ve ever seen in a Liverpool shirt, any chance of him keeping the ball just once?”

There’s a chance Rangers may be taking this “replacement for Joey Barton” thing a little too literally.

READ MORE - Rumour Mill: Rangers eye Poyet | McInnes to QPR | Warburton and Waghorn bust-up

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