With the potential capture of striker Joseph Dodoo on the agenda, plus Mark Warburton’s summer work in general nearing its conclusion, Rangers will have a significantly new feel about them next season.
While defender Oguchi Onyewu did not impress enough on trial in America to win a deal, plenty of new recruits have otherwise arrived in Govan keen to fight Celtic to the title next season.
Warburton has admitted a CB remains on the agenda, along with aforementioned striking vacancy, but what will a potential new-look Rangers now shape up as come the new season?
Obviously before labelling this as ‘Rangers’ new team’ it is important to point out existing talent like Jason Holt and Martyn Waghorn have not suddenly just lost their places, and gave so much last season to merit playing a big role this season; but like everyone else it is a blank slate and a higher level than 2015/2016 was, hence the new signings and the validity of seeing what a brand new Rangers XI may well look like.
Disclaimer: the following content contains conjecture.
So, without further ado:
Surprising to say this but Wes Foderingham seems to be losing more and more popularity with Rangers fans right now, and far from impressed in South Carolina. Widely regarded as a weak link last season, the former Swindon stopper may well find himself fighting with the Scotland cap who looked infinitely more assured during his 45-minute cameo, despite the bizarre goal Rangers’ hosts managed.
A 13-time Northern Ireland cap, Hodson is being touted as cover, but with doubts over established RB James Tavernier’s future cropping up in recent days not to mention his defensive failings, the former Killie full back may find himself a first choice under Mark Warburton.
While not exactly superb at the Battery, Hill showed enough that he should certainly be no flop. Experience, wisdom, leadership plus the ability to get stuck in, Rangers desperately need his guidance at the back.
This was a hard choice; between Wilson, Kiernan and Crooks (for now) but I opted for Wilson such is his age and experience. Young enough to improve and learn, experienced enough at UCL, EPL and SPL levels to suggest he is good enough (if his head is screwed on correctly) for a stint at Scotland’s top flight.
What more needs said?
You just do not sign a player of Barton’s calibre not to play him. A titan in England’s Championship last season, as well as time spent in some of Europe’s best leagues, Barton is a big-time player with bags of experience and ability, and unless he is a bewildering flop or suffers injury, he will be a sure-fire starter when available.
Look at this piece to understand why Rossiter is more than good enough for the SPL – and a partnership with the experienced campaigner Barton could bring Jordan’s level up even higher. This is a midfield engine room to be excited by.
Again, you do not sign an 82-times Croatia cap unless you intend to play him. The attacking midfielder was a stunning capture, with plenty of experience at the highest levels, and with age still on his side, McParland and Warburton did a brilliant job persuading him to give up the sun of USA for the drizzle of Govan.
He just cannot be dropped. Absolutely stellar last season, and Rangers could bring in Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portuguese would struggle to shift the newly-capped international. He has earned his place and will surely keep it come the new campaign – but plenty of top competition will ensure he continues to earn it.
From the videos we have seen, he has pace, power, strength, and a very clinical finish. With top-flight experience under his belt in England, Dodoo would be a very nice signing to compliment Rangers’ existing ranks, and while the deal is not secured yet, it looks a goer.
Rangers paid £500,000 for the St Johnstone winger – Mark Warburton will absolutely be looking for a return on that and if his second half display in Charleston was anything to go by (yeah yeah ‘it was a friendly’) he looked every inch the MOH Rangers signed rather than the slightly underwhelming one he disappointingly became. Make no mistake, an on-form O’Halloran is a heck of a weapon, and one Rangers may use a lot this season.
Ok, this is where you readers cry in unison:
“Where’s Harry Forrester/Josh Windass/Andy Halliday/Jason Holt/Martyn Waghorn/Kenny Miller/James Tavernier/Matt Crooks/delete as appropriate?”
The point of this piece was one possible new team Rangers could well field next season, as opposed to a strict criticism of existing players. No one, I repeat no one will agree with my selection, and few Bears will even agree with each other on who Rangers’ best XI will actually be. For example, I could happily switch Kranjcar with Forrester and O’Halloran with Windass and the first team would be no weaker for it. There is no ‘one’ best team, and that is the point of Warburton acquiring so much depth and talent to boost the squad for next season.
However, for the fun of it, feel free to reply in the comments with your own preferred XIs and we will see how much we all differ.
It is a nice problem to have, I am sure you will agree.