A premature end to the 2019-20 season meant that Scottish clubs got more time to chalk out their transfer plans, compared to many other teams across various European leagues. And Rangers manager Steven Gerrard made full use of the added time, bringing in as many as eight players to strengthen his team for the 2020-21 season.
The Liverpool legend knows more than anyone else that after two seasons of relative lull, he is now into the make or break season and could well be on his way out of Ibrox if he fails to hand the Glasgow giants a trophy at the end of the campaign.
Therefore, much thought was given into concluding deals that Gerrard felt would help complement his already existing squad.
After impressing last season, it was inevitable that a few loan stars would return to Rangers. Striker Jermain Defoe and attacking midfielder Ianis Hagi were two such players who travelled back to Ibrox.
There were another six players who were signed by Rangers, who are desperate to stop Celtic from clinching their 10th successive Scottish Premiership title.
So, without further ado, let us assess Rangers’ transfer business over the course of the extended summer.
#1 Jermain Defoe (On a free transfer on the basis of a pre-contract agreement)
The 38-year-old had joined Rangers on an 18-month loan deal back in January 2019. An impressive spell at Ibrox meant that the Scottish giants went back to convince the player to agree on a pre-contract agreement to return to Scotland on a permanent basis this summer.
He agreed a one-year contract, delighting Steven Gerrard, who said that his team had been working on it for weeks.
“It’s something we have been working on over the weeks and it is great to finally get that done and dusted.”
After recovering from an injury, the veteran has featured in three games, scoring one goal and setting up one more.
#2 Ianis Hagi (From Genk for around £3m after Rangers exercised their option to purchase)
Ianis Hagi was the second player to return to Ibrox this season after rebuffing interest from other clubs. The 21-year-old, son of former Barcelona and Real Madrid player Gheorghe Hagi, initially moved to Scotland from Belgian side Genk in January but could manage only 13 appearances before the season got suspended due to the pandemic.
A return was always on the cards after the Gers had inserted an option to buy in their initial deal for the player. And so, early on in the summer, the move was sealed with the player putting pen-to-paper to a four-year deal. Hagi said,
“My priority was always to return to Glasgow and play for Rangers. I am excited about re-joining the squad for pre-season and putting on the famous shirt once again.”
The young attacking midfielder has so far played in 13 games for the Glasgow-based club this season, setting up seven goals for his team-mates and exciting Rangers fans around the world.
#3 Calvin Bassey (On a free transfer with Rangers paying £230,000 as compensation to Leicester City)
Rangers agreed on a pre-contract agreement in early June to sign the Leicester City academy graduate. The youngster can operate both as a left-back and a central defender – a trait that is meant to excite any manager, with Steven Gerrard being no different. The Liverpool legend said,
“There was a lot of clubs interested in Calvin and for us it’s pleasing to secure the services of another young talent.He’s a strong and dynamic athlete who is very much the modern-day full-back. He’s left-footed, physically powerful and enjoys driving forward and is certainly equipped to thrive in the combative nature of Scottish football.”
Although Calvin Bassey has failed to feature predominantly for Rangers’ first-team, he has impressed every time he has been on the pitch. He has four Scottish Premiership and one Europa League qualifying appearances against his name so far, and at 20, he has plenty of time to impress.
#4 Jon McLaughlin (Free Transfer)
After refusing the offer to extend his contract with Sunderland at the end of last season, the 33-year-old crossed the border to join Rangers on a free transfer and putting pen-to-paper on a two-year contract.
Post the signing, Jon McLaughlin said that the opportunity to be a part of something special at Ibrox excited him.
“It’s a very proud moment for myself and for the family.
“Knowing what a massive club it is, and speaking with the manager and his staff, and knowing the vision and the direction they have, the opportunity to be a part of that and hopefully be a part of something special here was what sold it to me.”
He has been a brick-wall between the sticks for the Gers so far, managing seven clean sheets in eight appearances.
#5 Leon Balogun (Free transfer)
Following Wigan Athletic’s relegation to League One at the end of last season, the 32-year-old left the club upon the expiration of his contract. The Gers wasted no time in snapping him up, signing him on a one-year contract with the option to extend it for a further year. Steven Gerrard said,
“His experience in the Premier League, as well as his international pedigree, strengthens our squad and will assist in the development of our young defenders.”
The Nigerian international has since featured in five league games for Rangers.
#6 Kemar Roofe (From Anderlecht for £4.5m)
The signing of Kemar Roofe was perhaps one of the biggest coups Rangers pulled off this summer. The 27-year-old started his career at West Brom and signed for Leeds United in 2016, for whom he played for the next three years, scoring 33 goals in 122 appearances.
He moved to Belgium last season where he played 16 matches for Anderlecht, scoring seven goals. After Roofe’s signing, Steven Gerrard said that he was attracted by the forward’s experience.
“He has experienced the pressure and expectation at Leeds United and has played on the continent which will stand him in good stead for his time at Ibrox.”
Kemar Roofe has so far featured in six games for Rangers, scoring two goals.
#7 Cedric Itten (From FC St Gallen for around £2.5m)
On the very same day when Rangers confirmed the signing of Kemar Roofe, the Gers pulled another rabbit out of the hat when they roped in Cedric Itten from St Gallen.
The Swiss international had been in amazing goalscoring form for the Swiss side the previous season, netting 20 times.
Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson said that they had agreed on a deal weeks ago but with St Gallen being in the title race, they decided to wait. He said,
“This deal was agreed just over a week ago but with St Gallen in a title race and battle for European places we were respectful of that with the Swiss season only ending on Monday evening.”
Itten has so far featured in nine games for the Gers, scoring two goals.
#8 Bongani Zungu (On Loan from Amiens)
Bongani Zungu was the final bit of business the Gers did before the transfer window closed on 5th October. The South African international has the reputation of being a strong presence in the middle of the pitch and with his signing, Steven Gerrard further strengthened his midfield for the season.
Rangers have the option to make the move permanent at the end of hos loan spell.
“We wanted a dominant midfielder with the right profile who can enhance the team and complement other players we have. We have monitored this situation all summer and now feel it’s the right time.”Steven Gerrard.
Although the 27-year-old is yet to make his debut for the Gers, his profile across different countries has already caused excitement among the Rangers fans.
Also Read: Reviewing Celtic’s summer signings