RANGERS Football Club is delighted to confirm that Niko Kranjcar has become Mark Warburton’s sixth signing ahead of the 2016/17 season.
The Croatian attacking midfielder – who was previously with New York Cosmos – has agreed a two-year deal with the Light Blues after successfully completing a medical in Auchenhowie.
Kranjcar, 31, is a vastly experienced, technically-gifted player who has enjoyed a top-level career spanning 15 years.
Mark Warburton said: “We are delighted to secure a player of Niko’s undoubted qualities and very much look forward to welcoming him to the club.
“Such a signing shows our desire to achieve a positive balance between young, hungry players and the undoubted necessity of experience and maturity.
“In addition, I would like to thank the Cosmos for the highly professional manner in which they have conducted their business throughout this process. It has been a pleasure to deal with them.”
Born in Zagreb, Kranjcar started his senior professional career at Dinamo Zagreb, becoming the club’s youngest captain at 17.
From 2001 to 2005 he won three Croatian Cups, two Croatian Football Super Cups and a Croatian First Football League title with Zagreb, and was named Prva HNL Player of the Year in 2003.
In January 2005 Kranjcar transferred to fierce rivals Hajduk Split and, wearing the number 10 jersey, he helped the team win the 2004/05 Croatian First Football League Championship and also netted the winning goal in extra time to lift the Croatian Football Super Cup in 2005.
Portsmouth gave him his first taste of English football at 22, with Harry Redknapp paying €5 million in August 2006 for one of football’s rising stars.
Prior to this switch the young Croat was handed an international debut against Israel by his father Zlatko, who also played for Dinamo Zagreb and Rapid Vienna, and Niko would go on to make 81 appearances for his country, scoring 16 goals.
In nine years – from 2004 to 2013 – he would represent Croatia at the 2006 World Cup and at Euro 2008 and Euro 2012.
In September 2009, Kranjcar was reunited with Harry Redknapp at Tottenham Hotspur, with the London club securing his signature in a £2.5 million deal with Portsmouth, despite a late approach from Everton.
After three years at White Hart Lane, Kranjcar joined Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev but he returned to England on loan with Queens Park Rangers in September 2013, with Redknapp signing the player for a third time.
During his two-year spell at Loftus Road, the talented playmaker was in a squad which included Clint Hill and Joey Barton and he went on to make 57 appearances for QPR, scoring five goals.
On 18 March 2016 New York Cosmos announced they had signed Kranjcar following his release from Kiev, but today the 2008 FA Cup winner with Portsmouth becomes the third Croatian to play for Rangers – following in the footsteps of Dado Prso and Nikica Jelavic – and he will undoubtedly be an important and exciting addition to Mark Warburton’s squad.
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— Rangers FC (@RangersFC) June 23, 2016