Friday, June 2, 2023

Rangers Boss Eyeing Reunion With Nottingham Forest Outcast: Why Beale Must Make The Call

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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 a recent report from The Daily Record is believed to be true, Rangers are keeping close eyes on Nottingham Forest defender Jonathan Panzo. The youngster is currently enjoying a season-long loan stint with Coventry City, who are fighting for a playoff-place finish in the English Championship.

The Gers have scouted him extensively over the past few months. He has featured week in week out in the heart of the Sky Blues backline until February when he endured an injury misfortune on the training ground. Michael Beale trained Panzo while coming through the ranks of Chelsea and the Rangers chief could script a reunion with the young prodigy as part of the squad rebuild.

The 22-year-old England youth international progressed through the Blues’ esteemed academy setup. Then he joined Monaco in 2018 but mostly appeared for their reserve side before being loaned out to Belgian outfit Cercle Brugge. Similar to Monaco and Cercle Brugge, Panzo had an unsettling phase at Dijon. The promising centre-half eventually returned to his homeland and joined Forest on the winter deadline day.

Despite reuniting with the former England U17 boss Steve Cooper, Panzo made only one appearance, that too in the final gameweek against Hull City. The West Bridgford side won against Sheffield United and Huddersfield Town in the playoffs to secure Premier League football, however, the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup winner was not even a part of those matchday squads.

Rangers target Jonathan Panzo in action against West Brom
COVENTRY, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 21: Tom Rogic of West Bromwich Albion contests the ball with Jonathan Panzo of Coventry City during the Sky Bet Championship between Coventry City and West Bromwich Albion at The Coventry Building Society Arena on December 21, 2022 in Coventry, England. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

So far the Reds have made 30 signings since getting promoted which leaves Panzo with little future at the City Ground. He must continue his excellence in Coventry colours, and therefore, grab a high-profile summer transfer amid interest from the Glasgow giants.

Why Rangers Must Rope Him In

Rangers have ample options in deep defence, yet they underwent an injury crisis earlier this campaign. Injuries to John Souttar, Filip Helander and Ben Davies forced then-boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst to promote the teenage starlet Leon King to partner with Connor Goldson. The latter was also sidelined for a few outings which forced the manager to deploy James Sands as a makeshift.

Sands’ loan has been cut short after failing to fulfil the expectations, also the Light Blues are likely to offload Helander due to persistent injury woes. Panzo, on the other hand, would be an exciting addition given his aggression, confidence with the ball at his feet and ball-playing ability. The English rising star has also exhibited his flexibility as a left fullback and it remains to be seen whether a deal is struck in the due course of time.

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