Rangers close to £3M signing of Premier League Panzo – the end for Ben Davies?

Rangers close to £3M signing of Premier League Panzo – the end for Ben Davies?
WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Jonathan Panzo of Coventry City during the Sky Bet Championship between West Bromwich Albion and Coventry City at The Hawthorns on February 03, 2023 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Rangers are reported to be closing in on a £3M deal for Nottingham Forest defender Jonathan Panzo, in yet another ‘Championship player’ move but one that has experience of top European leagues as well.

The 22-year-old stopper has been on Rangers’ radar for quite a while now, and sources have suggested Michael Beale has very much moved in on the former Dijon defender and one of his own charges at Chelsea’s Academy as a permanent partner for John Souttar.

Indeed, Panzo is a left-sided defender, who can fill in at LB as well, but his main slot is the centre, and his CV makes for pretty encouraging reading for Rangers fans.

A regular for Coventry on loan last season, Panzo also has 24 Ligue 1 appearances and a very respectable 17 in Belgium’s Jupiler Pro with Cercle Brugge, so for a 22-year-old defender he’s got a strong schooling behind him and while he never made a senior appearance for Forest in the Premier League, everything else about his career has been strong.

Seventh in Ligue 1 a couple of seasons ago for interceptions, Panzo’s reading of the game, for his age, is very, very good, and given the fact that Dijon were rock bottom of the table that’s no easy feat.

Indeed, his decision making is excellent, and he’s quick, and he truly understands the flow of matches very well for one so young – it’s actually surprising that he hasn’t broken into football at a higher level yet, and this could be some very shrewd scouting and Ibrox boss Beale’s own awareness of kids he worked with when he was at Stamford Bridge’s youth setup.

As a natural leftie, Panzo would 100% become a Ben Davies ‘replacement’, with the former Liverpool stopper a very disappointing acquisition in Govan and not living up to much of the £4M spent on him – but his wage will be a problem to shift unless any Championship side is willing to match it.

But the potential addition of Panzo is a clear message from Michael Beale to Davies that he won’t be first choice next season, and Panzo himself may actually be the manager’s first-pick at the back.

We don’t see Connor Goldson just walking back in with the superior John Souttar in place. Maybe a back three?

Either way, Panzo looks like he could be close, and the first central defender to sign in the window.

We’ll see how this one develops.

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