Andreas Skov Olsen: The €6m Rangers target with potential for devastation who could get new lease of life at Ibrox
The pair were pitted together back in March in World Cup qualification. For 55 minutes, Austrian defender Ulmer had kept Yussuf Poulsen quiet. Then Olsen came on as Poulsen’s replacement. Three minutes later the winger was tearing in at the back post to convert Thomas Delaney’s cross.
By the 83rd minute Olsen had made it 4-0. Running away from Ulmer onto a long ball. As he collected and got it under control the moment seemed to have been lost. Only for the Dane to produce a drop of the shoulder, swivel and then devastating finish. Austria were done and dusted.
Skov Olsen is a forward who defenders are not used to coming up against. He doesn’t look like a winger.
Why Rangers want him
His build isn’t too dissimilar to former Rangers striker Cedric Itten. But the way he uses it couldn't be more different. If you were to make a crude comparison with a talent everyone knows then you’d reach towards Gareth Bale, especially when he was tearing up the Danish Superliga with former side Nordsjaelland or pulling on the red shirt of his country.
Rapid, skilful, direct, a great touch, lovely balance and a constant goal threat with a fearful left foot.
The 22-year-old has been touted as a possible addition as Giovanni van Bronckhorst tries to add width to the Scottish league leaders in the January transfer window.
One of the key takeaways from the Dutchman’s management of the Ibrox side has been the willingness to add greater width on a more regular basis. Whether it was a counter-attacking style in a win at Hearts with Ryan Kent a constant threat by staying wide. In the recent win over Dundee it was Scott Wright's turn to play an influential role as a winger, while Fashion Sakala has been used as a dangerous wide forward.
It makes sense Van Bronckhorst will want to add to his attacking arsenal in this sense, especially with a previous focus on occupying central areas under Steven Gerrard.
Skov Olsen appears someone who would be perfectly suited to the versatility the new Ibrox boss wants from his wide players.
His biggest asset is ability 1v1. At Euro 2020, team-mate Mikkel Damsgaard noted: “No matter who he is facing they have a difficult job in a 1v1."
Despite being predominantly left-footed, Skov Olsen prefers a role on the right. But it is not a case of looking to cut in at all times. He is supremely confident and comfortable taking a defender inside or down the line. He shifts the ball so well and so quickly, while possessing excellent acceleration. Not something you expect of someone who is 6ft2in.
However, that confidence hasn’t been displayed all that often since a €6million move to Serie A side Bologna.
Now into his third season, he hasn't been close to replicating the 26-goal season at Nordsjaelland which prompted such a big-money move.
“It's not secret that I'm not in the best situation at Bologna," Skov Olsen admitted earlier this season. “It's not going too well down there, but I need to go back and work hard."
He has been asked to play a different role under Siniša Mihajlović.
A recent clip of Aaron Hickey scoring for Bologna was doing the rounds amongst Scottish football fans. He netted from the edge of the box with a beautifully struck shot from the edge of the box. The goal was set up by an accurate pass from Skov Olsen.
Realistically you would expect the roles to be reversed. However, he has played often as a wing-back which negates some of what he does best, taking him further away from the opposition box.
New lease of life
Skov Olsen is a player who shouldn’t be too concerned about running back towards his own box defending in 1v1 situations. He should be the one doing the attacking, driving forward, running in behind or pulling wide to get the ball and then attacking.
His goal tally for Nordsjaelland was hugely impressive as it is for the Danish national team throughout different age groups. Four in ten for the 19s, nine in 18 for the 21s and a respectable six in 14 for the full team.
It is easy to see him fitting seamlessly into the current Rangers team, getting a new lease of life at Ibrox where his attacking talents will be encouraged. Whether it is part of a 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1, he would be a huge threat on the counter-attack or in games where the team is dominating and in those moments where the team are up against a low block and need a moment of magic.
In every aspect it is a match-up, between player, club and manager which makes complete sense.
Get a year of unlimited access to all The Scotsman's sport coverage without the need for a full subscription. Expert analysis of the biggest games, exclusive interviews, live blogs, transfer news and 70 per cent fewer ads on Scotsman.com - all for less than £1 a week. Subscribe to us today.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.