AS the clock struck midnight on Monday evening, Rangers fans finally got the news they had been waiting on all summer. As the transfer window closed at 12 o'clock sharp, the club posted an announcement on Twitter: Ryan Kent had rejoined the club.

Rangers supporters were delighted with the news, particularly in the wake of their side's 2-0 defeat at home to Celtic the day before. During the game, Steven Gerrard's side were crying out for some width, some form of out ball where a player could drive up the park. It never materialised, and Rangers were deservedly beaten.

So, with this painful memory fresh in the minds of supporters, it is little wonder there was a mass outpouring of jubilation from the blue side of Glasgow when the news broke that Kent had returned to Ibrox. Last season the English winger picked up the young player of the year award for his performances and regularly stepped up in some of Rangers' biggest games last season; something that cannot be said of many of the players that started for the home side at Ibrox last Sunday.


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Celtic fans have been quick to jump on Kent's goal and assist stats from last season on social media, arguing that the £7 million Rangers paid for Kent does not represent value for money. After all, in 43 appearances in all competitions, they argue, Kent accrued six goals and six assists. By way of comparison, Mikey Johnston chalked up five goals and one assist in 23 appearances for Celtic in all competitions last season.

Obviously, these figures are indisputable facts. But they don't neccesarily tell the full story. Reducing a winger's performances to the number of goals and assists they accrue is simplistic and doesn't paint a full picture of how well they are performing.

When we dig a little deeper into the numbers that Kent was posting for Rangers last season, we can see how important he was to Gerrard's side. Only three players - David Turnbull, Odsonne Edouard and Scott Sinclair - had a higher shot accuracy than Kent in the league. In terms of progressive dribbles (runs where the ball is carried at least 10 metres up the pitch), Jordan Jones (3.82 per 90 mins) and Gboly Ayiribi (3.15) were the only wingers who completed more of these dribbles than Kent (3.02).

Similarly, Kent's output in the final third is more impressive than his goal and assist stats initially suggest. For players aged 23 and under, Kent had the fourth-highest rate of shot assists in the league; Aberdeen's Connor McLennan and Celtic pair Kieran Tierney and Odsonne Edouard were the only players to out-perform the Rangers winger in this regard.


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Deep completions measure how many passes a player completes in the opposition box and again, Kent performed admirably in this metric last season. Tom Rogic (2.57 per 90 mins), Ryan Christie (2.48), James Forrest (2.31) and Odsonne Edouard (2.18) completed more than Kent (1.94) per game on average, but no other Premiership player did.

These figures demonstrate just how important Kent was to Rangers last season. In all of these metrics, Kent was not only the best player in his team but also one of the top performers in all of Scotland's top flight. It's clear to see why Rangers were willing to shell out one of the highest transfer fees in their history to bring him back.

At 22 years old, Kent can still improve and there is no question that Gerrard will be hoping that the former Liverpool winger can chip in with more goals and assists this campaign. It is certainly an area of Kent's game that can be said to be lacking. But to point purely to these figures in an effort to deride Kent's performances last season is short-sighted and superficial. Kent's underlying stats are superb and if the winger can develop further under Gerrard, then he could be a vital player for Rangers this season.