Rangers: Mexican sports writer offers insight into new signings Pena & Herrera

Eduardo Herrera and Carlos Pena
Eduardo Herrera and Carlos Pena have joined Rangers from Pumas and Guadalajara

Rangers made their seventh and eighth summer signings as Mexicans Carlos Pena and Eduardo Herrera arrived at Ibrox.

Midfielder Pena and striker Herrera finalised their transfers from Guadalajara and Pumas respectively after receiving their work permits.

The Mexican market is familiar to manager Pedro Caixinha, who took charge of Santos Laguna for two years in the top flight Liga MX.

But for most Rangers fans, Pena and Herrera are unknown quantities.

BBC Scotland has enlisted the help of sports writer Omar Flores Aldana of Mexico City's Excelsior newspaper to find out more about the new faces at Ibrox.

Carlos Pena

Carlos Pena in action for Mexico against USA
Carlos Pena has 19 caps for Mexico and was in their squad for the Brazil 2014 World Cup
  • Age: 27
  • Position: Midfield
  • Caps: 19

Rangers fans will hope Pena, known as El Gullit due to a perceived similarity in appearance to the Dutch legend Ruud Gullit, brings a goalscoring threat to their midfield and the ability to go box-to-box.

The move, as far as Flores Aldana is concerned, could be a timely one for a player looking to reach the heights his early career promised. There would, however, appear to be an element of risk involved.

"When he was developing, Pena was capable of working as a link between the midfield and the forwards, but he wasn't willing to take the ball from the defence in the first place," Flores Aldana said.

"He was, however, still considered the best player in the academy by many of his team-mates.

Pedro Caixinha
Pedro Caixinha knows Herrera and Pena from his time as a manager in Mexico

"He made a big improvement under coach Gustavo Matosas at Leon, who convinced him to start taking the ball from the defenders. That made him a more rounded player, as he could help his defence as well as score goals.

"After this he was called into the Mexico squad for the World Cup in Brazil and although it was expected he would sign for a European team afterwards, he did not receive any offers from abroad.

"Pena then moved to Chivas Guadalajara but it was not a good fit for him and he failed to adapt. He made some mistakes in key moments and had some off-field issues. He returned to Leon but failed to rediscover his best form.

"It surprised people in Mexico that he moved to Rangers as he hadn't gone to Europe when he was playing at his best earlier in his career, but if Caixinha can get him working like Matosas did, he could be a good signing."

Eduardo Herrera

Eduardo Herrera
Eduardo Herrera worked under Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha at Santos Laguna
  • Age: 28
  • Position: Striker
  • Caps: 9

With 57 goals in 207 appearances in Mexico, Herrera's record suggests he is not the most prolific striker. Yet as Flores Aldana describes, it may be other qualities that attracted Caixinha, who had the player in his Santos Laguna squad during the 2013-14 season.

"Herrera is not the most accurate finisher and is not the type of player that will dribble past people," Flores Aldana said. "But he is an aggressive player who pressurises the ball when it's in the opponents' defensive area.

"He is good at holding the ball up and he refuses to give up on anything - that's the mind-set that earned him a place in the Pumas' first team.

"His best years were from 2014-16 with Pumas, under coach Guillermo Vázquez, when he played with two wingers and was the main goal poacher. He was top scorer in one season and was called into the national squad.

"He didn't reach the same level last season while on loan at Veracruz, so, again, it was a surprise that he won a move to Rangers."

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