When Rangers completed the signing of Sam Lammers on the 15th of June, the debate swiftly began as to whether his recent goal returns merited his arrival.
Six goals in his last three seasons had some supporters questioning why Michael Beale decided to cough up £3.5m for the forward at a time where the squad needed players with a proven track record of finding the back of the net.
However, others clearly had an idea that there was a player in there, having impressed in the Eredivisie earlier in his career, and you have to have some level of talent to be featured alongside the likes of Ryan Gravenberch and Alessandro Bastoni as part of UEFA Champions League’s four young stars to watch not long after his 9m Euros move to Atalanta in 2020.
And given what Lammers has shown in his performances in the four pre-season outings that we may be in store for more of the latter than a player who can’t break double figures for goals.
The YouTube videos which circulated over social media this summer actually seem to be a carbon copy of just what he can produce, that being a terrific close closure under pressure, especially for a player his size, as well as a calmness when bearing down on goal that we always wished that Alfredo Morelos had.
So the question remains: why has Sam Lammers struggled recently to turn the ability into numbers?
A big part of that, in the last year in particular, appears to be the style of football the team he plays for incorporates.
When playing in Serie A last year, he was lining up for Sampdoria – a team that struggled greatly finishing bottom of the league.
When playing in that environment, Lammers wasn’t part of a team that would dominate the ball, instead incorporating more direct tactics which, when you are a player of Lammers height, would mean more aerial duels as opposed to in-to-feet football.
This is the polar opposite to what he will experience at Ibrox, where he will be playing in a team who will have upwards of 60/70 per cent of possession every week against all bar one of the teams in the league.
Even in games where possession is at a premium, Rangers try to incorporate a quick, dynamic counterattacking style under Beale, which should allow Lammers to be able to pick up the ball in nice pockets of space in front of the defenders, and use his trickery to create the half yard for himself or his team mates.
Something else that looks obvious on our limiting viewing of Lammers is that he appears to thrive on being the main man, the primary creative outlet in the side.
When at Atalanta, he was coming into an environment where the side already had several players in this vein, so unless he got up-and-running quickly, he was always going to struggle to shine. At Rangers, he’s come in to a forward line that’s is a complete refresh, so the transition to being the driving attacking force suits him to a tee.
We saw a similar scenario last season with Todd Cantwell, who when given the chance to quickly reinvigorate his career, took it quickly with both hands, showing why he was once a multi-million pound target for Liverpool.
Michael Beale loves a player who has shown their ability in the past but lost their way, giving them a platform to show why they are a top players.
Sam Lammers has all the tools in his looker to be the pioneer player for his approach at Ibrox. Let’s hope he can now provide those numbers at long last to go with it.