Weiss's future

Despite reported interest from Sampdoria, Celtic and the Bundesliga, Slovakian winger Vladimir Weiss has opted for a season long loan at Rangers, signing on for the Scottish Champions earlier this week.

After featuring sporadically during 2009/10, there was anticipation that Weiss was set to play a larger role during the forthcoming campaign but with the arrival of David Silva and James Milner in addition to the blossoming of Adam Johnson, it left him further down the pecking order with little prospect of meaningful action.

A loan therefore was the sensible option, but is Rangers the best move for him? Weiss spent the second half of last season on loan at Bolton and whilst he didn't manage to get a consistent run under Owen Coyle, did show enough to suggest he has the quality to succeed at this level. 

What his performances at the World Cup did highlight though was he is perhaps not quite ready for a full-time role in the Premier League, at times looking as though he was trying a little too hard to impress, with his decision making exposing a lack of experience at the top level.

In that regard, Rangers looks to be a good fit for him. From afar, it is clear that the SPL is at it weakest strength wise for some years (although a counter argument could be that Rangers and Celtic's slide has increased competitiveness as other sides are not quite so far behind the Glasgow pair) but what Weiss needs is plenty of game time. Fighting on three fronts domestically, he will get plenty of action - far more than I suspect he would do even at a low end Premier League side - and of course he is guaranteed Champions League football, a factor he suggested played a large part in his decision.

The ideal scenario of course is that the season can act in a similar way to Joe Hart's time at Birmingham in that it plays a huge part in the development of a burgeoning career, one that has been so long anticipated since he was identified as a jewel in the Academy, and that Weiss can come back far readier and force his way into Roberto Mancini's thinking.

The concern is though that regardless of Weiss's performance during 2010/11, it has little effect on his long term prospects at City. Many column inches have been devoted to how the influx of players (mainly foreign) have stymied the development of the Academy graduates at the club. Although we have seen Stephen Ireland and Nedum Onouha (albeit Onouha on loan) leave this summer, a harsh assessment would be that they have failed to show the necessary quality on a consistent enough basis, and that they have not departed without opportunity.

The fear from Weiss's perspective is that he never gets those opportunities. He doesn't have the luxury of games behind him at the club, his time coming through the ranks coinciding with the arrival of the ADUG money and not forced into the line-up out of necessity like those before him. Therefore, the danger is that a David Silva or a Mario Balotelli can be easily plucked from afar, pushing Weiss that little bit further away from a place in the side.

The move as it stands today is a good one for him, and the hope is that it is being viewed by those at the club as Weiss's 'finishing school', but is the reality that it is a move that will help develop a career at City or a sign that it may never get off the ground. 

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