Cedric Itten: 5 Things to Know About the Exciting Swiss Striker

Switzerland striker Cedric Itten.
Switzerland striker Cedric Itten. / STEFAN WERMUTH/Getty Images
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Rangers have signed St. Gallen striker Cedric Itten for an undisclosed fee, joining on a four-year deal this week.

The 23-year-old arrived in Glasgow on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after finishing the Super League season with St. Gallen. He was the second Gers arrival announced in the space of three hours, after the club confirmed the signing of Anderlecht forward Kemar Roofe.

Itten becomes the third Swiss player to play for Rangers, following in the footsteps of fellow Nati international Kevin Mbabu and former centre-back Philippe Senderos. He will be a welcome addition, as Rangers look to win the Premiership for the first time in 10 years and the 55th time in their history.

Here is everything you need to know about Cedric Itten.


1. He Had a Standout Season With St. Gallen

Itten in action for St. Gallen in the Raiffeisen Super League.
Itten in action for St. Gallen in the Raiffeisen Super League. / DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Itten just had his best season for St. Gallen, and in fact the best of his career so far. He scored 20 goals in 36 appearances across all competitions, helping Die Espen finish second behind BSC Young Boys - their best league finish since 2001, and their best ever Super League season.

Itten scored 19 times and got seven assists in the Super League, a truly prolific campaign up front. He finished as the league’s second top scorer behind Jean-Pierre Nsame, with the best goal tally for a Swiss player since Alexander Frei, Switzerland's all-time leading goalscorer, in 2012.

The numbers do not lie for Itten, whose contributions have made up a third of all of St. Gallen’s goals this season. He will be a huge loss at the kybunpark after a dazzling season in Switzerland, but St. Gallen’s loss is undoubtedly Rangers' win.


2. He Scored Six Minutes Into His Switzerland Debut

Itten celebrates his debut goal for Switzerland with Ruben Vargas (right).
Itten celebrates his debut goal for Switzerland with Ruben Vargas (right). / STEFAN WERMUTH/Getty Images

Itten earned his first call-up to the Switzerland national team last November, picked for the Schweizer Nati’s Euro 2020 qualifiers. Vladimir Petković's side needed two wins from two to qualify, in their final games against Georgia in St. Gallen and away to Gibraltar.

He was a substitute against Georgia, but as the game stood goalless with 20 minutes to go, Itten replaced Albian Ajeti. Six minutes after his introduction to the game, he headed home brilliantly from Denis Zakaria's cross, securing a vital 1-0 win.

Itten deservedly started the next game against Gibraltar, scoring a brace as the Nati ran out 6-1 winners and qualified for the now-delayed tournament. His return of three goals in two games was the perfect start to life with the national team, as he hopes to make the final squad for the tournament next summer.


3. He's Excellent in the Air

Itten contests a head in St.Gallen's home clash with FC Thun.
Itten contests a head in St.Gallen's home clash with FC Thun. / RvS.Media/Sandro Schmuki/Getty Images

If you have to choose one of Itten’s traits as his best, it is his heading. Every great striker is a marksman with their hard, and the Basel-born man is no exception. Two of his three Switzerland goals were with his head, and he scored five headers this season alone for St. Gallen.

Standing tall at 6'2, it is no surprise that Itten is clinical in the air. He rarely wastes chances crossed into him, and is exactly the type of player you would want on the end of a tantalising cross.

Signing for a team who play with a lot of crossing is the perfect match for him, and it will certainly suit him well when he steps onto the pitch for the first time.


4. He Is a Product of FC Basel's Famed Academy

Itten (second from left) during his time at FC Basel.
Itten (second from left) during his time at FC Basel. / AFP Contributor/Getty Images

While Itten joins Rangers from St. Gallen, it all started at Swiss giants FC Basel. A Basel boy himself, Itten arrived at the club's academy in 2007 aged 10, with the RotBlau's youth setup renowned and admired across Switzerland.

During his time at St. Jakob-Park, Itten played alongside a number of current Swiss internationals. To name a few, he played with the likes of Borussia Dortmund's Manuel Akanji, Borussia Mönchengladbach's Breel Embolo and West Ham's Albian Ajeti.

Although Itten only managed four goals in 26 games for FC Basel, he has since flourished after loan spells at FC Luzern and St. Gallen. His record of 0.57 goals per game for the latter is a promising figure, one which earned him the move away to Scotland.


5. Itten Is The Perfect Target Man

Itten scores for St. Gallen against FC Thun in the Super League.
Itten scores for St. Gallen against FC Thun in the Super League. / DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Itten is a classic striker: always in the right place at the right time. His aerial prowess means he is effectively deployed as a target man, alongside his strength as a poacher. Whether he is playing as the lone striker or with a partner - such as Ermedin Demirović at St. Gallen - he can always be relied on to find the net.

His positioning and awareness in the box is a crucial trait, always working his way into the box and in between the defenders. Itten’s simple yet intelligent runs have caused many problems, as defences lose track of him and allow him in to bare in on goal.

Any team needs their striker to be expertly positioned, and that is something Itten has done since his early days at FC Basel. As long as he is getting quality service and at ease in the final third, he will have no trouble finishing off team moves and scoring goals.


For more from Nischal Schwager-Patel, follow him on Twitter here!

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