Rangers FC had a coruscating inception of summer transfer window as the Gers boss Pedro Caixinha brought in ample new faces to contest high-flying rivals Celtic FC and bring an end to their league dominance for the past six seasons. The Scottish heavyweights finished third in their returning campaign in Premiership and earned a place in 2017-18 Europa League qualifying Round 1. However, their new season began with an unforeseen stumble as they suffered a shocking Round 1 exit following a disastrous 2-0 defeat against Luxembourg minnows FC Progrès Niederkorn and Caixinha’s new signings were heavily criticised for a shambolic as well as futile display.
The Portuguese tactician has used his contacts to bring in players from Primeira Liga and Liga MX where he had previous coaching experience. New players, from different continents, need time to gel in order to achieve long term success, but at the same time, lack of local talents became a massive concern for Caixinha, especially after such a reprehensible initiation of their new campaign. Although he has signed 9 players this term, only Graham Dorrans and Ryan Jack have experience of Scottish football. The boss, thus, is keen to add more local talent to his squad and has set his sights on 24-year old winger Jamie Walker who had a scintillating 2016-17 campaign with Premiership outfit Heart of Midlothian FC.
Walker has represented Scotland internationally at various youth levels and netted 12 times in 34 league outings last term including a brace against Rangers, his probable destination, in a thumping 4-1 victory back in February. He has a strong left foot and usually operates from the left flank. Walker has pace, strong dribbling skills, loves to cut inside and do layoffs. Finishing is one of his biggest strengths alongside laudable set-piece skills. He is also capable of playing on the other flank as well as in an attacking midfield role.
Walker joined the Jambos back in 2003 a the age of 10. He progressed through the youth ranks of Hearts before being promoted as a first team regular during the 2012-13 season following an impressive loan spell with Raith Rovers. He has made 163 senior appearances for his boyhood club till date and netted 38 times across all competitions.
Walker, however, has one year left on his current deal and rejected an offer to extend his stay in Ian Cathro’s side. Rangers, meanwhile, have become potential suitors to acquire the star attacker as they view him as a fitting replacement of Barrie McKay – the 22-year old Scottish international who opted to join English Championship outfit, Nottingham Forest, rejecting a contract offer. Rangers had two of their bids turned down by Hearts for Walker. But the Scottish heavyweights are now reportedly planning a third bid in order to meet the Jambos’ £1 mil valuation for their prized asset.
Caixinha attended their friendly against Premier League outfit Newcastle United and the attacker further impressed the Portuguese boss with his stellar performance in spite of suffering a 2-1 defeat. Walker scored one and earned a spot-kick for his side which was blasted over by teammate Isma Goncalves. The Gers are hopeful of their third bid being accepted for Walker who is close to becoming the 10th summer signing of the Scottish giants.