Rangers ace Ianis Hagi on Roma transfer talk, covid isolation and living up to expectations

Ianis Hagi insists his full focus is on becoming the main creative force for Rangers amid reports linking him with a move to Italy.

Ianis Hagi insists his focus is on Rangers amid transfer talk. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Ianis Hagi insists his focus is on Rangers amid transfer talk. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Ianis Hagi insists his focus is on Rangers amid transfer talk. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

The Romanian playmaker came off the bench to play a starring role in the Premier Sports Cup quarter-final win over Livingston on Wednesday following 14 days in isolation after testing positive for covid while on international duty.

Reports in his homeland claim the 22-year-old is close to securing a £17m move to Roma in January, but Hagi would not be drawn on the speculation insisting: "I'm fully concentrated on Rangers. "

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After completing his quarantine period in Romania, Hagi hired his own private plane to get him back to Scotland in time for Wednesday’s Ibrox clash.

"It was really tough, mentally especially," he said. "Symptom-wise I didn't have a lot so I was just sitting in my room waiting to get a negative test and waiting for the 14 days to pass by as quickly as possible.

"Seeing Rangers play every three days in different competitions, it was really tough for me mentally to be away from what I love.

"It's good to be back on the pitch and with everyone here at Rangers. I'm just looking forward to the big games ahead of us."

Gers boss Steven Gerrard has challenged Hagi to be the team's "creative tool" in the final third and it is a responsibility the youngster is relishing.

"Throughout my year and a half here I've grown a lot as a player, physically and technically," he said.

"I can play in different positions right now - I can play as an eight as well. I feel really comfortable out there. I think I've added a lot to my game and I still have a lot to add.

"That's what I'm focusing on and figuring different ways to get better with the coaching staff. As long as I'm in the position to create on the pitch and do my job as a number 10 I feel really good.”

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Gerrard has been delighted with the progress Hagi has made since joining the club from Genk in May 2020 – but admitted it comes as no surprise.

"We knew the talent we were buying and the potential Ianis had," he said. "We knew there were areas of his game that could grow and improve, but we're dealing with a player who is obsessed to get better.

"Whether that is off the pitch in the gym, he is to the millimetre in terms of his nutrition, diet and professionalism. He stays behind every session trying to improve parts of his game. He's an absolute pleasure to work with.

“He's got real good people around him away from here as well who are helping support him in terms of representation, and his dad.

"He's had a bit of a disrupted season. He took a whack in the first game against Livingston and he was in great form then. But he's looked after himself since he's been injured and slowly he's got back to where we need him to be, which is that creative tool in the final third. We've been lacking that a little in certain games so to see him come on and have such a quick impact bodes well for the upcoming games."

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