Rangers’ summer defensive transition hits critical juncture

Rangers’ summer defensive transition hits critical juncture
Not enough defenders in here (Credit Rangers FC)

With Leon Balogun inching towards a dramatic return to Rangers following a year away at Queens Park Rangers, one of those implications Ibrox Noise hinted at earlier today is very much the topic of this piece:

Rangers’ absolute inability to secure a decent defender this window.

We are now deep into July, almost a month gone of the summer transfer window proper, and only Dujon Sterling, a reserve job from Chelsea kids and now injured already at Ibrox qualifies as defensive supplements this window.

Indeed, while some of the signings this window look like they could be useful (Dessers, Butland), the absolute top/attack heavy nature of the incomings makes us wonder why defence has been completely abandoned yet again.

The only reason Balogun is returning is the unexpected long-term injury to Leon King, and indeed the knock to Sterling, as opposed to for desired defensive quality and depth, or competition for the first-picks.

So what does this mean – especially for Jonathan Panzo and Auston Trusty?

These two were lauded as the main left-sided sided target defensive additions, with sources suggesting Michael Beale was choosing the Nottingham Forest man of the two. But deep into July, we see no movement here at all, for either he or the Arsenal defender.

Rangers are deep into the Germany trip, that being the critical time new signings bed in with the group to get a full and proper preseason and bonding session – we already see Sima, Dessers and Sakala have quickly become mates and other groups and friendships have evidently started.

And that’s something anyone new now is missing out on, sadly, including the unfortunate Dujon Sterling. For the Tom Lawrences and Connor Goldsons and even Nico Raskins, it’s not a huge issue – they’re already integrated and part of the squad, but for anyone new, it’s not ideal.

Which means every day that passes without a proper fully-fledged new defensive signing sees more time passing that said new addition will miss out on preseason.

Michael Beale wouldn’t have wanted that – he wanted as much work done early, and in fairness 6 (soon to be 7) signings isn’t bad, but unfortunately they’re mostly attack, with just Sterling the lone defensive acquisition, aside, obviously, Butland in goals.

Which means as things stand we go into the Champions League qualifiers and Premiership opener with basically only John Souttar and Ben Davies, with, likely, Leon Balogun.

Now Souttar and Balogun isn’t bad, it really isn’t, it’s actually a pretty strong defence if both can stay fit but it’s not the marquee defensive addition we needed, and time is starting to get thin on the ground now.

Here’s hoping this can be resolved soon.

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