Rangers transfers: The numbers and style behind 'Coki-gol' Antonio Colak scouted as PAOK Salonika striker talk continues

Rangers are in the market for a forward and have PAOK Salonika’s striker Antonio Colak on their radar, according to reports in Greece.

With Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe still at the club, there is a space in the attack vacated by Cedric Itten earlier this month and the club has been linked with several forwards including Mateo Cassierra, Cameron Archer and Erik Botheim. Colak is the latest.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Ross Wilson are said to have had an opening approach rebuffed for the striker, who won't be completely unknown to Ibrox fans. He scored twice in Glasgow last year to deny Rangers Champions League progress – but his goals did kick-off that epic Europa League run to Seville.

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So what is attracting the Ibrox hierarchy to the German-born Croatian? And how could he fit in at Rangers?

Initial impressions

The player affectionately known in his homeland as ‘Coki-gol’ came into focus for the majority of Rangers fans when he hit a clinical double for ten-man Malmo last August. The Swedes won 2-1 for a 4-2 aggregate progression but the second-half double really sucked the momentum out of the tie and caught the Rangers defence out.

The first impression of the 28-year-old, from those goals is his size and target man potential. He laid the first ball off to Veljko Birmancevic like an tailor-made attacking focal point with his back to goal, but was fleet enough of foot to take the return and shoot – early and accurately – to beat Allan McGregor on the angle. It is a clinical finish and the quick and early strike that followed, with a textbook target man’s roll of Leon Balogun and shot on the turn was incisive and ultimately decisive for Malmo’s win.

Rangers’ first obvious impression then, was positive, if punitive.

Malmo's Croatian forward Antonio-Mirko Colak (C) challenges Juventus' Brazilian midfielder Arthur (L) and Juventus' Italian defender Daniele Rugani during the UEFA Champions League match on December 8, 2021. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)

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Vital statistics

Colak is around 10 centimetres taller than Morelos and Roofe, more alike with the departed Itten but wins considerably more aerial duels than the Swiss – two, on average per match. Physically he looks to have the build of a target man, but his movement and pace suggest there is more to his game.

His Allsvenskan heat map from 2021 at Malmo shows similarities to Morelos' in the SPFL in areas where they both move and engage outside the area, but a significant concentration of the right-footed Croatian’s play comes front and centre in the penalty box. Yet he also scored with four of 21 shots outside the box – something neither Roofe nor Morelos managed at all in the league last term.

Colak possesses a similar 12 percent conversion rate to Morelos’ one-in-10 though neither come close to Kemar Roofe’s 23pc.

His shoot on sight tendency, exhibited so clinically that night in Ibrox, is reflected by his shot averages, two on target from 4.3 per match – similar to Roofe’s one per every two shots taken. Morelos’ accuracy is better than both at two on target from 2.9 efforts per match.

If anything can be derived from the SofaScore statistics and numbers, and Colak’s highlights reel and display at Ibrox, Rangers could find a player with attributes to match elements of both Morelos and Roofe in some areas, fitting into the overall picture – but with a physique and build they don’t currently have within their attacking ranks.

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