With the new campaign just days away, what positions does Steven Gerrard have to improve if Rangers are to make a title-challenge this season?

Theoretically, a title-challenge will be difficult given the massive rebuilding job that the Rangers manager has had to carry out. With so many under-performers last season, Gerrard has been able to dispose of Carlos Pena, Eduardo Herrera, Jason Holt, Ryan Hardie, and Joe Dodoo on loan. Fabio Cardoso and Bruno Alves have also left the club permanently.

This has allowed space to open up in the squad for new faces such as Scott Arfield, Umar Sadiq, Connor Goldson, and Nikola Katic to name a few, with a host of new faces arriving since Gerrard started working at the club on June 1st.

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But where do Rangers still need to invest in if they’re to make progress on last year’s dismal campaign?

Certainly not in goal anyway. Allan McGregor has proved to be a steady figure already, with many Rangers supporters already feeling more secure with their former hero back between the sticks. Wes Foderingham continues to stick around as number two, but it remains to be seen how satisfied he is with that. Jak Alnwick proved an able deputy when called upon at times last season, and this leaves the goalkeeping position well-stocked with quality.

A total overhaul seems to have occurred in the back-line. David Bates, Alves, and Cardoso have all left the club, and it’s allowed the manager to bring in freshness to an area of the squad that has consistently disappointed in recent seasons.

The early signs from the Goldson-Katic partnership is positive, and it already looks to be Gerrard’s first-choice. There needs to be added depth there, however, with Rangers needing to reshuffle should either have an injury. This leaves a centre-back one of the main priorities for the club in order to have sufficient depth.

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James Tavernier retains his place at right-back, but returns as club-captain as his responsibility grows. On the other side, John Flanagan’s value to the side is still being judged. With Declan John as cover, though, Rangers have the quality required down that side – especially if there’s a reprieve for Lee Wallace too.

The midfield is probably Rangers’ strongest position in terms of squad depth, and the early signs appear that squad quality in that area is also a box that’s been ticked. Arfield, Ryan Kent, and Ovie Ejaria are the newcomers with the responsibility of bringing a creative spark alongside Josh Windass and Daniel Candeias – both of whom have big seasons ahead of them as they bid to impress the new manager.

Where Rangers have desperately needed to improve in recent years is the defensive side of their midfield. Whilst Gerrard continues to come up with a system for his new group, Lassana Coulibaly already looks to be the kind of player Rangers have been missing. If his performances continue to be as impressive as in the win against Osijek last week, he’ll prove an outstanding find.

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With Ryan Jack available as back-up, and Graham Dorrans and Greg Docherty also both waiting in the wings, it’s fair to say Rangers don’t need much more tinkering in that area.

The big debate for most of the summer has been on Gerrard’s striking options.

Alfredo Morelos got a lot of stick from elements of the support after the Europa League tie against Shkupi, but seems to be back amongst the goals again after strikes against Osijek and Wigan Athletic. He continues to be the number one striker, but the burden cannot be placed solely on Morelos for the goals.

With Umar Sadiq brought in and a saga already developing for Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty, it’s clear Gerrard also feels the need to bolster his front-line. A third body to bring competition for places up top remains a priority, and is something that must be rectified if Rangers are to challenge at the peak of the Premiership this season.

Overall it appears that Gerrard has managed to plug many of the gaps in the side, with the jury still out over one or two. However, a centre-back and a third striker should be what Rangers focus on between now and the end of the transfer window. Succeeding in signing both will give the Ibrox club a good size of squad with some exciting quality throughout.

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