Monday, September 26, 2022

Rangers Defender Drawing Interest From Abroad – A Win-Win Move For All Parties Involved

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Pratyay Maitra
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Rangers enjoyed a successful summer in terms of transfer business. They have qualified for the Champions League group stages, and it’s time for Giovanni van Bronckhorst to decide whether to retain some of his key individuals amid contract complications and lack of gametime. The latter has been the case for Nikola Katic, who is now surplus to requirements at Ibrox. If the reports from Israel (as claimed by the Daily Record) are believed to be accurate, the Croatian centre-back has emerged as a target for Maccabi Haifa.

Meanwhile, FC Zurich are also keen, and according to The Athletic’s Rangers correspondent Jordan Campbell, Katic is closing in on a move to the Swiss champions on a permanent deal.

The 25-year-old defender joined the Gers from Slaven Belupo (for £2m) during Steven Gerrard’s regime. He eventually became an integral part of their first-team set-up and featured 59 times across the first two seasons. His winning goal in an Old Firm derby back in December 2019 saw Rangers clinch their first win at Celtic Park since 2010.

However, a severe knee injury derailed his development in Scottish football. The surgery ruled him out for the entire 2020-21 campaign, and the club opted to loan him out to Hajduk Split to rebuild his fitness. There he made 25 appearances since completing a season-long loan a year ago. Now the arrivals of James Sands, John Souttar and Ben Davies over the past few months suggest that Katic does not belong in the Dutchman’s future plans.

Nikola Katic

Why Rangers Are Parting Ways With Nikola Katic

Moreover, the manager has promoted Leon King to the Light Blues’ senior side following the teenager’s strides through the academy ranks. Connor Goldson is ever-present in the heart of the backline, and the experienced Filip Helander is working towards his recovery from persistent injury concerns.

Although Hajduk had the option to make his loan move permanent, Rangers’ asking fee of around  £1.3m proved to be a roadblock. It was an astronomical amount for the Prva HNL outfit, and the player admitted the same while speaking to Sportske Novosti.

Why The Croatian should Leave The Club

Similar to Rangers, Maccabi Haifa have progressed to the group stage of the Champions League, defeating Red Star Belgrade in the playoff. However, they have been drawn alongside Paris St-Germain, Juventus and Benfica, and these European heavyweights would aim for emphatic wins versus the Israeli minnows to keep their knockout hopes alive. Gaffer Barak Bakhar, therefore, must aim for reinforcements to put up a show against the odds.

Zurich, on the other hand, eliminated Hearts en route to securing Europa League football. Having said that, they are undergoing a dreadful run in the Super League with no win in six games, and the German chief Franco Foda is desperately pushing for late inclusions to improve their performance.

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