Rangers FC have had a tremendous season. We wrestled the title away from Celtic after the disappointment of losing to Lithuanian outfit Kaunas and missing out on the Champions League. After that reslut, alot of fans were calling for Walter Smith to go, which is understandable as we should never have been beaten by a team like Kaunas. Not after finishing 2nd in the UEFA Cup a few months before, though some people may say that this result is what handed us the title. It’s all we had to go for. There could be no excuses. Thankfully, Smith remained as manager, and now Rangers are back on top as Scotlands best team. Alot of Celtic fans will disagree, like Georgios Samaras has, but at the end of the day, the stats don’t lie. We scored more, we conceded less and we had the most points. We are the better team. But if we are going to progress and give Europe a genuine go this season then we MUST build an all round solid squad. We have good players but I’m not entriely conviced that they would be able to perform consistently at the top level of club football. As an example, Davie Weir. Great player despite his age, but would he really be able to keep up with the likes of Lionel Messi ? I have no doubt that Madjid Bougherra would hold his own but I expect that big Davie would struggle.
In my opion, we must sign a new Central Defender and Right-Sided Full-Back. We also need a Left Winger and Centre Forward. We have a good selection right now, as Newcastle, Middlesbrough and West Brom being relegated means there are a lot of good players looking to escape the Championship and find a club playing in Europe or at least in some sort of top flight league. We have the European advantage over teams like Stoke and Bolton but we don’t have the finances and so the only way we can afford to make decent new signings would be by selling some of our fringe players like Brahim Hemdani and Charlie Adam. We have been linked with Chris Brunt which I feel would be a step in the right direction. He’s a good winger who can score goals and he now has Premiership experience. I also think Alan Smith would be a good option to go for since he is now looking to escape Newcastle. Both these players are lifelong Rangers fans, which can only encourage things to go forward.
As for the defensive side, I’m really disappointed we didn’t capitalize in January over Hearts willingness to sell Christophe Berra. Wolves fans have every right to be excited about this exciting prospect of a player and he’s my personal tip to be the next Rio Ferdinand. He would have been the perfect person to play beside Bougherra but unfortunatley, he’s tied down to Wolves and is now looking at his first season in the English Premiership. Therefor we must look elsewhere and again, a recently relegated player I think would fit the bill. David Wheater of Middlesbrough looks the part. If he can learn from Davie Weirs approach to the game then he would be a great replacement. There’s also Mark Reynolds of Motherwell and Tonel of Sporting Lisbon who continues to be linked with a summer move to Ibrox. The 29 year old has good experience from playing in the portugese leagues and was a part of the Sporting team that Rangers beat en route to the UEFA Cup Final and he also played for Maritimo when Rangers beat them into the UEFA Cups 1st Group Stages. As for a full-back, Steven Whittaker has done well to finish the season, but with Broadfoot out until late November, it means he is the only decent right back as Christian Dailly is slowly beginning to deteriorate in ability. So, we must look at finding cover or even a big name full back that can challenge Whittakers position in the starting XI. Mihael Kovačević of Dundee United would be my 1st choice. He wouldn’t be too pricey and he’s almost the same type of player as Sasa Papac. His goal line clearance to deny Kris Boyd on the last day of the season was miraculious, so you know he’s not afraid to put his body infront of the ball. If you were to splash the cash and go big, then why not go for someone like Juliano Belletti of Chelsea. He has experience and probably won’t feature in the next Chelsea managers plans if he is going to have money to spend on new, fresh players. He may be 32, but for a defender now-a-days, that’s not too bad.
David Wheater would be a decent signing.
Cash splash option, Juliano Belletti.
Another thing. For our young players to develop, they must feature more often. John Fleck turns 18 in August and deserves to be included on the preliminary Champions League squad list. Daniel Wilson hasn’t played a first team game yet Tottenham and a few other clubs have said he’s a player they would like very much to sign, so show us why. Also, this is the last year in young Aaron Niguez loan from Valencia. Everytime he has played, he has shown flashes of brilliance, so let him play a full game and be brilliant from start to finish. We also have players returning from loans that could become first team starters. Dean Furman being one of the most exciting as well as Giorgos Efrem.
So next season looks promising for Rangers, but we must build on last season, especially if we are to sell players, it is important to make replacements and improvements. We are now Champions of Scotland, it’s time we became a European Force once again.