RANGERS manager Steven Gerrard has been discussing the six signings he has made ahead of the team’s return to pre-season training tomorrow.
So far, the new boss has recruited midfielders Scott Arfield and Ovie Ejaria, goalkeeper Allan McGregor, defenders Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic as well as securing winger Jamie Murphy on a permanent deal.
Speaking today at the Hummel Training Centre, Gerrard explained: “We have assessed the squad from afar, and now we have signed the contracts and become part of the club, we have assessed the squad close-up – the areas where we are strong, the areas where we need to tweak and need to improve.
“Obviously, it is out there now that we have, already, got a decent start in terms of improving the goalkeeper area, where we have added Allan McGregor. He is a legend who knows the club inside out. He is certainly a positive signing who is up for it and can’t wait to get going.
“Scott Arfield was a no-brainer on a free-transfer. He will help in a lot of ways both on and off the pitch. He is a fantastic player.
“And then, the other main area was the centre-back area. Russell Martin went back, Bruno Alves is obviously at the World Cup, while [David] Bates left on a free.
“So that was an area where, first and foremost, we needed players, but the right players with the right profile – players who are hungry and want to come in and defend this badge for their life.
“That was the message when we spoke to these players. It’s not about coming to Rangers and being a Rangers player, it’s actually about coming, being a Rangers player and then defending the shirt for your life, and both [Nikola] Katic and [Connor] Goldson are right up for the challenge and that excites me.
“With Ovie, I think it’s important we the crowd give him a bit of time to come up and adapt to the surroundings. He will be coming up alone without his family, and he will be joining us in Spain.
“I think with time, and we will obviously work him in at the right time and the right speed, but in terms of talent, in terms of someone who can get a fan on the edge of their seat and in terms of someone who has got tonnes of ability just waiting to admire, we feel he is ready to burst.
“But, he will have to be managed and put in at the right time, but he is one I am confident can excite the fans here and I know the fans want exciting players to watch.”
Gerrard was asked specifically about the two centre-halves he has brought to the club, and while knowing they differ in some respects, he sees them adding so much to his Rangers squad.
“They are both different in terms of age and experience,” he continued. “Nikola is very inexperienced in terms of numbers of games, but in terms of potential, and in terms of profile, he ticked every box.
“He is really looking forward to coming out to Spain and getting going and getting his fitness there. In terms of Connor, Connor is ready to go.
“He has had a frustrating couple of years in terms of being a back-up player at Brighton, and he doesn’t see himself as a back-up player and I don’t see him as that.
“I see him as a leader and I see him as a starter – someone who can come in and cajole the defence and really take ownership of it. He is just glad it’s finally over the line and he’s a Rangers player.
“He is as hungry as anyone to get going. The centre-back area was obviously one we had to act pretty quickly on and try to get a head start just because of the changes and dynamics of it, but we are looking to strengthen every area.
“In every area I think we can improve, we will pounce and we will do it.”
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