Steven Gerrard took over as Rangers Manager on the 1st June 2018 after the sudden and unfortunate sacking of Graeme Murty. Gerrard agreed a four-year deal and said he could make fans happy, that he had “a special feeling” when he first spoke to Rangers about becoming manager and he vowed to make the Gers fans happy again.
The 38 year old’s first task was to build a team that could compete in the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) and the UEFA Europa League. He had the summer transfer window to make the team stronger, and build a team that could compete at the top level of European, and Scottish Football.
14 new players were brought with some familiar faces returning to Ibrox. Here’s the Clyde Insider’s take on how those players have settled in, or in the case of some, not settled in.
The Ibrox gaffer’s first signing was Conor Goldson (Centre-Back): a 25 Year old from Brighton and Hove Albion for a fee of £3.4Million. Some solid displays but has had some questionable performances in Europe in particular the 4-3 defeat away to Spartak Moscow. 6/10
Second signing – Borna Barisic (Centre-Back): the 25 year old from Osijek signed for £2.4million. The Bosnian started well, but has dipped in and out of the first 11 with Gerrard still unsure of his back four. 6/10
Third signing – Nikola Katic (Centre-Back): 21 Year old from Slaven Belupo joined for £2.2Million. A lot was promised from the Croatian international, but Katic has suffered some injuries and inconsistent form. 5/10
Fourth signing – Albanian International Eros Grezda (Right-Winger): a 23 year old from Osijek for a fee of £2million. He was the second signing from the side Rangers knocked out in the second qualifying round of the Europa League. Has the speed and skill, but hasn’t made a huge impact yet. This could be due to starting only five games and coming off the bench on seven more occasions. Much potential, as shown in the 7-1 drubbing of Motherwell, where he bagged two. 6/10
Fifth signing – Jamie Murphy (Left-Winger): the 28 year old from Brighton and Hove Albion was captured for a fee in the region of £1.2Million. It breaks my wee heart to write about the Scottish international. The 29 year old suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the Betfred cup win over Kilmarnock in August and will be side-lined until spring 2019. We all know Murphy’s profile and wish him a speedy recovery. Not fair to rank out of 10.
Sixth and final paid-for signing – Kyle Lafferty – This transfer has divided the loyal fan base. Following a lot of speculation and rumours of him being connected to the club, then further discussion between Rangers and his previous club Hearts, the Northern Irish man signed on the 22nd August, 11 days after scoring the only goal in the game between Hearts and Celtic at Tynecastle. After a bright start, the £500k striker has been a bit-part player in recent months, last scoring at the end of September in the 5-1 rout of St. Johnstone at Ibrox. Confidence seems to be an issue for the 30 year old as seen with the sitters he missed against Hamilton last week. 4/10
The overall sum of spending for Rangers in the summer transfer window was £11.8Million. The average age of arrivals was 25 years of age and the total market value arrivals stands at £34.9Million (according to transfermkrt.com) – that’s a saving of £23.1million for Rangers.
Gerrard also signed three players on free transfers.
Allan McGregor (Goalkeeper): a 36 year old from English Championship side Hull City. McGregor has previous success with Rangers in Europe reaching the UEFA Super Cup Final In 2008 in Manchester. McGregor has saved the gers on countless occasions and it could be argued that the veteran keeper was the key player that kept Gerrard’s side in Europe. 10/10
Scott Arfield (Left-Midfielder): a 29 year old from English Premier League side Burnley.
A new face that came in a free transfer to Ibrox was well known down in north-west of England; Provides a solid backbone in midfield and has shown that he can contribute to the goal and assist tally with four each. A slow start was probably inevitable due to a lack of match fitness, but slowly but surely, Arfield is becoming a fans’ favourites. 6/10
Jon Flanagan (Right-Back): 25 year old from English Premier League side Liverpool. The ex-team mate of Gerrard at Liverpool that joined Rangers on a free transfer
Gerrard loaned in five until the end of the season. He loaned in; Umar Sadiq (Centre-Forward) a 21 year old from Italian Giants AS Roma. Lassana Coulibaly (Central-Midfielder) a 22 year old from French Side Angers. Ryan Kent (Left-Winger) a 21 year old from Liverpool. Joe Worrall (Centre-Back) a 21 year old from Nottingham Forrest. The last loanee that Gerrard got was Ovie Ejaria (Central Midfielder) a 20 year old from Liverpool.
After a bright start, Ovie Ejaria quit Ibrox, with his manager claiming he was “unsettled”. The promising youngster who was on loan from Liverpool seemed to have a handle on the Scottish game before he was injured. Following talks with Gerrard, both parties felt it was right to terminate the deal.
This was the second so-called promising player to have struggled with adapting to Ibrox life following the disastrous loan signing from Roma of Umar Sadiq. When Sadiq was asked to lead the line against Aberdeen in the Betfred cup semi-final at Hampden (Lafferty was cup-tied and Morelos was suspended), the 21 year old failed to deliver the goods. In fact, his performance was no-where near the standard that Gerrard expects from his side.
Gerrard loaned out seven players until the end of the season, thoughout the summer transfer window. The Seven players that were loaned out was; Jak Alnwick to English League one side Scunthorpe United, Carlos Pena to Mexican side Necaxa, Eduardo Herrera to Mexican side Santos Laguna, Greg Dcoherty to English League One side Shrewsbury Town, Lee Hodson to Scottish Premiership side St Mirren, Joe Dodoo to English League one side Blackpool, Jason Holt to English League one side Fleetwood Town.
Gerrard sold two players in the Summer Transfer window. First to depart Rangers was Attacking Midfielder Josh Windass who moved to English Championship side Wigan Athletic alongside Ex Rangers Team-mates Joe Garner and Kal Nasmith.
Josh Windass moved to Wigan Athletic for a fee in the region of £2.2Million, which to some Rangers fans wasn’t enough and was worth so much more.
The second player to depart Rangers in the Summer Transfer window was Welsh International Left Wing-Back Declan John who moved to Swansea for a fee in the region of £890k.
Are the players Gerrard has brought in the right players? There is no simple answer to that question. Looking back at the players that Gerrard has brought in there are some stand out excellent players, some players that have tried and not settled in, and some players that just haven’t given 110% in every game.
The standout player since his return to Rangers has got to be Allan McGregor, he has kept Rangers in so many games since his return in both the Scottish Premiership and most importantly the Europa League. After returning to Rangers from Hull City in the summer.
Steven Gerrard has since got Rangers to the top of the Scottish Premiership, the only other manager to do that was Mark Warburton In 2016.
The burning question on every Rangers fans lips is…. Can Rangers win the League this Season?
It’s just a matter of time, we will just have to wait and see.