In an interview to Football Insider, former Aberdeen forward Noel Whelan has tipped the recent injury to Nikola Katic to come as a massive blow to all of Rangers’ aspirations for the upcoming campaign. The ex-Premiership ace suggested that the defender’s absence in the core of the Gers’ back-line will have a negative impact on the general outlook of the team and that the start of next season will be a strenuous period for the Glasgow club to deal with. He then went on to urge the Gers to delve into the transfer market in an attempt to sign a replacement for the defensive stalwart.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds United defender was quoted to have said, “He is their main centre-half. He brings height and he brings a lot of aggression and he is a leader out there on the pitch. He will be a huge miss for Steven Gerrard’s side, especially when they are trying to overturn a deficit in Europe and stop 10-in-a-row. To have a player like that missing for the start of the season will be very difficult. They might have to go into the market for a central defender.”
What Is Rangers’ Current Defensive Situation?
If it weren’t for the unexpected injury to Katic, the Glasgow club would’ve been going into the next campaign with four recognised options to choose from in the centre-half’s role. But with the Croatian defender now out of the equation, Gerrard will have to make do with what’s at his disposal.
Connor Goldson and Filip Helander will be established as the first-choice defensive pairing, with 22-year-old George Edmundson set to operate as second fiddle. Although this combination doesn’t sound too bad on paper, one further injury would have the potential to cause their entire campaign to capitulate.
Three Defenders Gerrard Should Consider Signing For Rangers
The 22-year-old currently plies his trade for FC Metz in the French top-flight and has been pretty highly-rated by a majority of his suitors. Standing at over 1.85m tall, the Malian international has all the qualities required to succeed in the gritty environment of Scottish football. Not only is the youngster capable of dealing with the physical requirements of the league, but he also possesses the tactical prowess needed to perform at a club as big as Rangers. Still only 22-years-old, the Ligue 1 ace would also offer good scope for the future (Daily Record).
The Peruvian international holding midfielder was another defensive name that was linked with a switch to the Ibrox this summer. Although he isn’t an actual central defender, acquiring Tapia would offer Gerrard an added bit of flexibility in both the midfield and defensive roles. The 24-year-old’s contract at former club Feyenoord has now expired, which means that he could be acquired on a free transfer. Moreover, the fact that Tapia is an excellent carrier of the ball will come as a boost to the Gers’ somewhat shaky back-line (Daily Record).
This Malian international centre-half was the talk of the town around the French second division last season, as his sheer presence was enough to strike fear into the hearts of opposition attackers. Standing at more than 1.92m tall, the 23-year-old would undoubtedly offer the strongest physical attributes of the three aforementioned names. Moreover, the fact that he’s still only 23 means that Gerrard, over the due course, will be able to mould him into the kind of defender that’s required at Rangers as well. His five goals from 18 Ligue 2 appearances highlight the absolute aerial dominance that Kouyate would bring to the Ibrox (Daily Record).