FILIP HELANDER has ended a whirlwind week by declaring his move to Rangers “perfect”.
The 6’4 centre-half put pen to paper on a four-year-deal at Ibrox on Saturday, to move him from Serie A side Bologna, having only heard of the Gers interest seven days ago.
Helander believes he fits into the Rangers ethos with ease having been brought up in Malmo’s academy and then into the Swedish side’s first team vying for trophies.
Asked why he signed for Rangers the 26-year-old told RangersTV: “Because it is a big club and I wanted to get a new experience, to be at a club where there is a winning mentality and you fight for titles every year – that is what I wanted to do.
“I think my character fits that really well, I grew up playing for Malmo in Sweden and there was the same mentality there – that you needed to win every game and win the title. So I think it is going to be perfect for me here.
“I am very excited and very happy to be here. I have got a really good first impression of the club and I can’t wait to get started.
“I heard Rangers were interested in me about a week ago, so everything has been going fast since then. When I first heard I was really interested in getting here.
“I was happy but when it is just an interest you never know how close it is and I tried to not think about it that much but when I realised things were getting closer I was really happy.
“There have been a lot of things which needed to be done over the past week and a lot of travelling and expectations but now I am starting to get settled.
“I spoke with Steven Gerrard when I had already made my decision to come here but speaking to him I got a really good first impression.
“First he said we’d like you to get here and we think it is going to be really good for you and he welcomed me to the club. When a manager says that to you then you always get a good feeling.”
Helander, who has 10 caps for Sweden, played Champions League football with Malmo before his move to Italy to firstly Verona and then Bologna.
He admits the prospect of being thrust back into European completion was a huge draw for him at Rangers.
He said: “I knew Rangers were a big club and I have seen them in the European tournaments, as well as watching Old Firms.
“European football was also one of the reasons why I wanted to come here to be able to play in the European cups again.
“I was in the first-team when Rangers played Malmo in the Champions League in 2011 but I was a young kid so I was never a part of the game but I was there at the stadium.”
Helander will join a group of central defenders who have been assembled by Steven Gerrard and his staff in the past 12 months.
He said: “Everybody was really nice to me and it seems like a good group with good characters.
“Now I can’t wait to go to Ibrox today; it will be my first time there because I have only seen it in pictures before.
“I am strong defensively and tactically, good in the one v one and have quite a good left-foot.
“I have played at quite a high level for a long time and I think even though I am 26 I have a lot of experience and hopefully I can bring that to the team.
“I am a team player and will always give everything for the team and I think we need that mentality here.”