Saturday, August 20, 2022

Rangers Register Interest In This Bundesliga Midfielder: Should Gerrard Rope Him In?

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

If the report from esteemed German outlet Kicker is believed to be true, Rangers have registered interest in 1. FC Köln midfielder Salih Özcan. The youngster appeared 32 times this season for the Bundesliga side but is set for a new challenge elsewhere once his contract expires at the end of June.

The champions of Scotland are all set for the upcoming Champions League qualifiers but, at the same time, eyeing new names to strengthen the current set-up. They have already roped in Fashion Sakala on pre-contract terms, whereas Nnamdi Ofoborh is set to join the club this summer as a free agent upon the expiration of his Bournemouth contract. Steven Gerrard has snapped up two promising players on Bosman and the arrival of Özcan would make it three if a deal is struck in due course of time.

The Light Blues, however, are not rushing the transfer as of now. The 23-year-old has appeared thrice for Germany in the ongoing UEFA Euro U-21 competition and is gearing up for Thursday’s semifinal contest against the Netherlands. Rangers are likely to miss out on Joey Veerman with Atalanta leading the chase and a move for Özcan makes absolute sense due to his versatility as well as ample Bundesliga experience.

Rangers target Salih Özcan is training with 1. FC Koln
1. FC Köln Training 1. FC Köln, Training, Salih Özcan 1.FC Köln, 16.03.2021, Bild: *** 1 FC Cologne training 1 FC Cologne, training, Salih Özcan 1 FC Cologne , 16 03 2021, picture

Why Rangers Should Secure His Services

The midfield prodigy progressed through the youth ranks of Die Geißböcke before breaking into their senior side at the age of 18. 2017-18 turned out to be his breakthrough campaign, even though the North Rhine-Westphalia side finished rock bottom in the league standings. While he spent the previous term out on loan with second-tier Holstein Kiel, an impressive run of form helped him regain the first-team status at his boyhood club. Köln have escaped a relegation scare this time though with a stunning 5-1 away win in the second leg versus Holstein Kiel.

Rangers, nevertheless, are well equipped in the middle of the park. Steven Davis is still going strong in his mid-thirties and has orchestrated the Bears’ game from deep down the midfield. Glen Kamara and Joe Aribo have been majestic too, also the experience of Scott Arfield proved to be crucial in grinding out results in close games. Ryan Jack is making a steady recovery from the injury nightmare and the addition of Ofoborh would offer some much-needed depth to compete across competitions.

Having said that, both Aribo and Kamara are drawing the attention of European hotshots.  Although the Gers would do their best to retain their services, some alternatives must be identified and lined up behind the scenes to avoid a late conundrum in the transfer market.

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