Despite a top-flight return a couple of seasons back, Rangers lacked quality and grade to restore the lost pride by winning the Premiership title. Celtic, their age-old rivals, already stretched the gap at the top, after the appointment of former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers led them to sheer supremacy in Scottish football.
The Hoops clinched ‘double treble’ since the Light Blues earned promotion and also humiliated them time and again in ‘Old Firm’ derbies. The Gers’ consecutive third-placed league finish is nowhere near the standards expected from them but the latest appointment of Steven Gerrard as the new Rangers boss has to be a massive statement of intent from the club officials.
Gerrard, the iconic Liverpool and England midfield sensation, spent the final years of his glorious Liverpool realm under Brendan Rodgers and is now assigned to dethrone the Northern Irishman to reconquer silverware in Glasgow. The 38-year-old former Reds U18 gaffer is eyeing an overhaul and sanctioned seven signings so far to reconfigure the depleted Light Blues.
Their fragile defensive line will see new additions in Allan McGregor in goal, Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic in central defence along with former Liverpool fullback Jon Flanagan who has reunited with his former skipper upon expiration of his contract at Merseyside. Their midfield has seen a new inclusion in Ovie Ejaria, another Liverpool prodigy, who joined on a season-long loan deal whereas the presence of Jamie Murphy and Scott Arfield will add depth and quality to their attacking third.
The Glasgow heavyweights, however, lacked enough strength high up the pitch as they failed to provide cover for Alfredo Morelos, the young Colombian, who was the only bright spark inside the box. Neither Eduardo Herrera nor winter loanee Jason Cummings made an impact, so their interest in AS Roma forward Umar Sadiq has gathered momentum for obvious reasons.
Sadiq, the 21-year-old Nigerian youth international, made a stunning impact for I Giallorossi when he netted eight times in first four youth outings and also found the back of the net twice in six games for the senior side, during his debut season in Rome. A couple of loan spells with Bologna and Torino did not work out, but he excelled at NAC Breda, the Eredivisie side, where he scored five times in 13 games since his January loan move.
Sadiq, the 6 ft 4 in centre-forward, will introduce physicality inside the box – an attribute the Gers were lacking ever since their return to the top tier. Morelos is technically sound and swift with his movements, but the Nigerian is suited more as a target-man with aerial supremacy. He has netted four times in six games for his nation’s U23 side but still needs to develop his game in order to secure the first-team status for the Serie A heavyweights. Sadiq is already a subject of interest to several European outfits, but the influence of Steven Gerrard and his project at Ibrox should hand Rangers a significant boost to wrap up a deal for the youngster on a season-long loan.
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