If Aaron Ramsey’s final kick of a ball in Rangers colours are destined to be that misplaced spot-kick during the heart-breaking Europa League final defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt, at least Connor Goldson will be afforded the opportunity to exercise the ghosts of Seville.
After months of speculation – and little indication that an extension was forthcoming – Goldson surprisingly signed a new four-year deal at Ibrox. And this could be the most important piece of business Rangers conclude all summer long.
With all due respect to Cedric Kipre and Danilho Doekhi, two players mentioned as potential Goldson replacements, they both felt like downgrades on a man who’s leadership skills, aerial prowess and wonderful passing range make him a colossal, load-bearing pillar in the Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s kingdom.
Will Calvin Bassey stay at Rangers?
Questions marks remain about Goldson’s centre-back partner Calvin Bassey, however. Aston Villa was reportedly closing in on a £25 million deal but Steven Gerrard appears to have turned his attention to alternative options after bringing in Diego Carlos from Sevilla.
In an interview with the Nigerian press over the weekend, Bassey insisted that he wants to stay at a club capable of winning silverware while testing himself against the best on the continent. Rangers will be a Europa League side again in 2022/23.
The left-footed Cameron Humphreys – a free-agent in three weeks’ time – would be a back-up option if Bassey stays put, succeeding the departed Leon Balogun. John Souttar, meanwhile, will provide competition for Goldson, offering real depth in reserve.
Tellingly, The Sun believe Stoke’s Josh Tymon would be a replacement not for Bassey but for Borna Barisic. The Croatian has looked a shadow of his former self at both ends of the pitch and the £5 million-rated Tymon is six years his junior.
Football Scotland believe Barisic wants to stay, but Rangers will listen to offers amid interest from clubs south of the border.
Steven Davis signed a one-year contract extension recently but there has been no such announcement regarding fellow veteran Allan McGregor. Rangers have been linked with a whole host of talented shot-stoppers, including Vladan Kovacevic, Benjamin Siegrist and Sam Johnstone.
Austrian Martin Fraisl has reportedly been offered a two-year deal at Ibrox. He has since left Bundesliga.2 champions Schalke but the trail has grown cold since then. Former England ‘keeper Jack Butland now feels like the most likely acquisition (The Sun).
Butland’s nous and character could help fill a McGregor-shaped void on and off the pitch, a Joe Hart-like addition to Rangers’ dressing room.
At the other end of the park, Rangers are in the market for a new centre-forward. Ross Stewart may stay at Sunderland after firing the Black Cats to promotion. But Mateo Cassierra – Morelos’ fellow Colombian – would be a more intriguing, ambitious addition.
“I hope within the next week or so, my future will be confirmed,” says former Ajax striker Cassierra, scorer of 14 goals in 22 games during an excellent debut season at FC Socchi. “And I will sign for a club who are good for me
“The manager of Rangers knows me because, when I was at Ajax, he was the manager of Feyenoord.”
Another Colombian striker?
Morelos’ future remains uncertain. But the lack of sustained speculation surrounding both him and Ryan Kent should provide optimism for Rangers’ chances of retaining their talismanic duo.
But, according to The Athletic, player sales may be the most useful means of enhancing Van Bronckhorst’s summer budget. Rangers’ spending power has been dented by their failure to secure Champions League qualification.
Youngsters Japhet Matondo (Cardiff City) and Cameron Cooper (Patrick Thistle) will not break the bank. The same cannot be said of Coventry City’s Gustavo Hamer (Sussex Live). Rangers may need to raise funds via the sale of a Kent, a Morelos, or more likely a Joe Aribo, in order to pave the way for Hamer’s arrival.
Kent, Morelos and Aribo will leave for free in 2023. It certainly makes sense for Rangers to cash in now, before it’s too late. Per The Athletic, Crystal Palace hold a ‘serious interest’ in Aribo.
In other news, ‘Loads’: Free agent linked with Tottenham transfer comments on his future