When Sam Lammers returned to PSV following a successful loan spell at Heerenveen in the 2018/19 season, his career trajectory seemed set.

Even after injury significantly disrupted the following campaign PSV publicised their desire to retain his services in the summer of 2020.

Director of Football John de Jong said at the time, “We have negotiated and had several conversations with respect for each other. When two parties disagree, it may lead to problems but Sam has always been loyal to PSV and has always shown great work ethics."

The striker, who first joined the club in 2010 and made his debut in 2016, opted for change with Atalanta, notorious talent-spotters in Serie A, paying an initial €9million for his services.

Minutes were hard to come by for the Dutchman and in the following season, a loan move to Eintracht Frankfurt materialised before Lammers’ 2022/23 was split between spells with Empoli and Sampdoria. Now, a move to Ibrox is imminent. 

Through a mixture of varying circumstances, he's never kicked on after breaking through in 2018/19 - but that doesn’t mean Lammers can’t thrive at Rangers.

This, in reality, is the exact type of deal Michael Beale’s favoured so far, looking for value in disenfranchised individuals who, crucially, have the character to succeed. As Todd Cantwell reminded us during his Ibrox unveiling, “You guys are probably fully aware that things off the pitch can affect someone on the pitch just like any normal person”. His success so far speaks for itself. 

Rangers’ position in football’s financial food chain is such that they can't compete for a player like Lammers when Atalanta pay €9million for him, or secure Cantwell's signature while he's impressing in the Premier League. Instead, the task is to be opportunistic and secure players of a higher quality when success has not necessarily been all that recent. 

Lammers’ list of clubs, including PSV, Atalanta and Frankfurt, clearly demonstrates the potential more than one outfit have chosen to invest in. This isn’t a question of quality, but rather one of suitability and timing.

Can he, having not scored consistently in a number of seasons, provide the necessary numbers for a title charge?


Lammers is a 26-year-old forward hailing from Tilburg in the Netherlands, joining PSV in 2010 as a 13-year-old. Standing at 6’ 2 he’s not a target man but often at his best with his back to goal and although numbers have been in short supply since 18/19, when 16 goals were scored in 31 90 minutes for Heerenveen, there’s some context to be applied.

With 5.4 90 league minutes in 19/20 and 4.7 the next season, Lammers in effect lost two years of football. He played 10.3 90 league minutes during the 21/22 campaign and although last year regular football returned with 24.2 90s, the forward was scrapping at the bottom of Serie A, spending the second half of the season at last-placed Sampdoria, who lost more games (25) than goals scored (24). The Dutch forward amassed just 23 shots across 13 90 minutes.

As will be elaborated upon, this isn't a striker who thrives in teams that don't enjoy the majority of possession. Lammers favours a ball to his feet over a ball in behind and while able to run the channels, works best in tight spaces. 

The attacker's last full season at one club was during the 18/19 season, his breakout year. 

What is this showing me?

  • Lammers’ two highest percentile ratings, xG assisted and successful dribbles, are demonstrative of what he offers aside from goals. The attacker is able to create and carry, contributing in more than one phase of play given his hybrid profile. 
  • Contrastingly, Lammers’ touches in the opposition box, xG and shots per 90 aren’t glaringly high. This is perhaps because of a tendency to drop into midfield and move towards the ball as opposed to always staying on the last line.
  • His xG/Shot of 0.11 is again, not descriptive of a lethal finisher. As will be expanded upon, this might have something to do with his shot selection.
  • The fact that Lammers was playing for a mid-ranking Heerenveen outfit will have impacted his stats. When comparing his numbers to Cyriel Dessers, for example, he’d have had fewer opportunities to shoot and occupy the opposition box.

At 26, Lammers needs this move to work; just like Cantwell or Jack Butland. And while Rangers are investing more in early potential than the product as of late, Beale will be confident that translating Lammers' quality into a lower-ranking division ensures promising numbers in return.

Let's take a closer look at some of the key attributes he'll bring to Ibrox.

Back to goal qualities

Lammers’ stand-out quality is his technical ability. While not an explosive dribbler the ball sticks to either of his feet like velcro. In this sense, he’s a poster boy for what Beale wants in his players, given he can outplay one-on-one, twist and turn and offer a hybrid threat.

Before discussing specifics, this demonstrates Lammers’ ability to contribute in open play. A striker in Beale’s system doesn’t need to average 30+ plus passes per game like peak Alfredo Morelos, but they must bring more than goals. The attacker’s heat map from the Ederevise 18/19 campaign shows a heavy tendency to play ahead of the opposition defence…

…And while last season’s exploits in Serie A were less impressive, with Lammers often chasing channels and receiving long balls, he was active box to box.

His two-footedness leads to strikes like his first for Atalanta below, an eye-catching finish enabled by his ability to attack either side.

Just as importantly, this allows Lammers to always receive the ball cleanly in congested central areas by taking it on his back foot. Not reliant on one side, marking Lammers becomes difficult because of this variability. 

Lammers is able to very quickly close and then open his shoulders, meaning opponents are always reacting to his movement, unable to trap him on a weaker foot.

Here, in a game for PSV, notice how he positions himself ahead of the Vitesse defender, moving away from the front line and forcing his opponent to jump out.

As the ball is fizzed in at pace, Lammers is able to open his body quickly and receive on his back foot before shifting the ball to his left and driving forwards. Creating just enough space to make an interception unlikely before exploiting the space he's created.

There are plenty of examples of this unique turning ability leading to goals during his time at Heerenveen. Take this double scored away at Ajax as evidence. 

READ MORE: Scouting Cyriel Dessers - Power, variation and a key Beale trait

Lammers starts both sequences with his back to goal, inviting the opponent to apply pressure, before utilising his two-footed turning ability to turn.


In this clip against Den Haag, note the way Lammers receives on his left and quickly shifts his weight to that side before turning to play in his teammate. He very clearly operates with a picture in his head of what’s happening around him, which informs the way he receives possession.

In this clash with Feyenoord, then managed by Giovanni van Bronckhorst, decision-making will eventually let Lammers down. However, notice when play is regained how he positions himself in the half-space ahead of markers, scans repeatedly to form a picture of what’s around him before again, receiving on that back foot and turning his man.

Creating just enough distance between himself and the centre-back to enable this movement. 

All of these clips demonstrate Lammers' ability to find space, outplay his direct opponent, twist and turn on either side and create opportunities for himself or others.

In this match playing for PSV against Den Haag watch Lammers' movement in the box. This two-footed ability, paired with strong awareness and technique, allows the striker to evade pressure even in the tightest of circumstances. 

Lammers’ standout skill will be crucial in Scotland, where space is not at a premium, and his ability to turn quickly in these central pockets feels quite unique.


Lammers’ finishing is perhaps the most difficult area to analyse given his minutes, as of late, have been so infrequent. At Sampdoria, for example, he only amassed 1.97xG over the course of the second half of the season.

Generally speaking, the attacker looks to be a clean ball striker who favours placement over power. Even if his shot selection still requires some refining. 

His trademark finishes are normally composed efforts like the already highlighted mazy dribble for Atalanta, which wasn’t exclusive to his spell in Italy. Look at this deft strike from a win over Fortuna Sittard in 2019.

The attacker's shot map from that loan season, featuring five penalty goals, throws up some interesting talking points.

An 0.11xG/Shot, the average xG of a player’s efforts, isn’t notably high although that could owe to numerous speculative efforts from range with a heavy load of low-value blue efforts and, at times, questionable decision-making. 

Both of these examples below show him taking a long shot (white) instead of picking the final pass (red).

Playing for a mid-table team then, the 26-year-old is going to be afforded far more shooting opportunities in Glasgow.

At Heerenveen, Lammers was more active shooting from angles rather than the penalty spot area with a greater proclivity to unleash efforts from the right side, when able to shoot on his stronger left foot or faint to use his right.

It’s also interesting to note the lack of activity around the six-yard box. Would Lammers be most effective when paired with a forward who can attack that area? 

The fact that he was signed by Atalanta, common users of a similar split-striker system to the one introduced by Beale at Rangers, is an interesting crossover. And it fits in with Beale's evolving front three perfectly. 

Why Lammers fits

Beale has changed the makeup of Rangers’ forward line and arrivals this summer will, more often than not, play in a partnership instead of ahead of two creators.

All over the pitch, we’re seeing hybrid players arrive, able to operate in more than one position and occupy different zones from game to game. The attack is no exception. 

Speaking about his strikers recently, the manager said: “I like the forwards not to be one position but interchange and move around and have a lot of freedom.”

Instead of one focal point playing ahead of two No.10s, Beale’s often playing two strikers wide down the sides of the defence with a free player breaking from deep behind them.

Rangers Review:

On the final day of the season, we saw extra wide attackers as Beale explained that his side “tried something new” against St Mirren's five-man defence. However, the overall concept of two wide forwards is one that can be traced all the way back to his first game against Hibs.

That’s why the imminent arrival of Lammers, and the heavy interest in Dessers, makes sense.

Either player can occupy central roles or attack from angles, possessing different skills that allow them to contribute in open play.

Admittedly, all transfers are circumstantial and spending on a striker who hasn’t scored in years does look risky on the surface.

In Lammers’ case specifically, however, Rangers have recruited a supreme technician with a skillset that can thrive in tight spaces. Although questions raised about goal return and shot selection hold value, it's worth remembering that the Scottish Premiership is a weaker league. 

Beale will hope he can harness the potential Lammers demonstrated in 2018/19, leading to another redemption arc in Glasgow.