Glasgow Rangers were not busy in the January transfer window as Ross Wilson and Michael Beale made minor adjustments to the squad instead of a complete overhaul.
Todd Cantwell and Nicolas Raskin, from Norwich and Standard Liege respectively, both came in on permanent deals to bolster the head coach’s options in the middle of the park.
However, they were also linked with a move to add another talented young player to improve the team’s long-term prospects. During the January window, it was reported that the Light Blues were interested in a deal to bring Romanian attacking midfielder Alexi Pitu to Ibrox.
The report claimed that a number of Premier League and European clubs, alongside Rangers, were keen on landing the talented dynamo before the market closed.
However, Ligue 2 outfit Bordeaux ended up winning the race for his signature for a fee in the region of €1m (£900k), with the gem penning a four-and-a-half-year deal with the French side.
Beale and Wilson missed out on the opportunity to sign Ianis Hagi 2.0 for the Light Blues as they were unable to snap Pitu up ahead of the second-division team in France.
The now-Bordeaux dynamo played with Hagi at Farul Constanta when they were both in the very early stages of their respective careers and coincidentally they play in similar positions on the pitch.
Both players are versatile midfielders whose most–played positions are left-wing, right-wing, and in the number ten role, which shows that they can interchange across the three behind a central striker.
Prior to Pitu’s move away from Romania in January, FCSB owner Gigi Becali claimed that the gem has “exploded” this season and his statistics back that up.
The midfielder, who talent scout Jacek Kulig described as a “playmaker“, failed to score a single goal and provided five assists in 32 league appearances for Farul in the 2021/22 campaign.
This term, Pitu scored five goals and assisted five for his teammates in 20 SuperLiga matches for Farul, which shows that the 20-year-old has taken a lead forward in his development and is now capable of making big contributions at the top end of the pitch.
Hagi went through a similar growth during his early years at Ibrox as the Romania international went from scoring three times and providing two assists in all competitions in 2019/20 to plundering eight goals and 15 assists for the Light Blues in 2020/21.
Therefore, Rangers could have signed their next version of the 24-year-old talent by bringing Pitu in as, like his compatriot, the maestro is a versatile midfield player who has shown that he has the quality to deliver regular goal contributions.
Beale and Wilson may now be hoping that they do not look back on their decision, or failure, to not snap him up ahead of Bordeaux with regret if the youngster goes on to achieve great things in France.