Rangers’ big ambitions for this season faced a reality check with a massive 5-1 defeat at the hands of their biggest rivals Celtic in the first Old Firm Derby of the season. Many considered that the Gers could challenge Celtic’s monopoly in Scottish football after the signings Warburton made this summer but the most successful club in Scotland failed to start the season on a good note. Two wins, two draws and one huge defeat, things could improve big time at Ibrox and Warburton will certainly try to use the coming winter transfer window to bolster his squad.
Even though January is far away, Rangers are already looking at potential candidates who can help them improve as a unit and their search for that took them to England as per reports. The Irish Sun reports that Rangers are locked in a four-horse race for Barnsley midfielder Conor Hourihane along with their rivals Celtic and Championship sides Aston Villa and Wigan Athletic.
Rangers do have a plethora of options in the middle of the park with players like Niko Kranjcar, Joe Barton, Jordan Rossiter, Andy Halliday, Jason Holt, Josh Windass and Matt Crooks but both Barton and Kranjcar are in their thirties right now. So far this season, Rangers have missed that extra bit of spark in midfield despite having so many options and Hourihane can easily provide them with that.
Hourihane was named Championship player of the month for August and has been in stunning form for Barnsley scoring twice and setting up five in six Championship games. He was a key part of the Barnsley team that achieved promotion from League one last season and since then, it has been a remarkable run for the Super Reds as they sit third on the table with 12 points from six games.
A central midfielder blessed with an incredible work rate, Hourihane can bring a wealth of quality to Rangers’ midfield. Capped seven times for the Republic of Ireland, the 25-year-old is a creative playmaker. He has made 2.2 key passes this season and completed an average of 52 passes every game with an accuracy of 80.2%. The 25-year-old has brilliant defensive work rate as well which is well-reflected from his 4 tackles, 3.7 interceptions and 2.3 clearances every game.
A brilliant free-kick taker, the 25-year-old is a threat both with his direct and indirect free kicks. The Irishman is a quality midfielder and Rangers must do everything in their power to bring him to Ibrox. He isn’t just another player past his peak, something that the club should look at while signing players in the next transfer window.