It may be early days, but it looks like Rangers are beating Celtic in the transfer window.
Steven Gerrard’s ultimate goal at Ibrox is to topple the seven-in-a-row champions in the table. However, for now it seems as though they’ve certainly won the pre-season battle.
You can’t compare both side’s work through quantity. If it could then Rangers would be winning by a landslide.
Instead, comparisons must be made with squad improvement and the removal of weak spots. And where Celtic have failed to build and improve, Rangers have soared ahead with their business.
Gerrard has brought in 11 new players to the club since arriving in June. Other than Umar Sadiq, who’s still to get a fair chance, none of those signings are looking shaky.
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Connor Goldson, Nikola Katic, and Allan McGregor however are the standouts. The trio have filled the defensive gaps that have cost Rangers over the last several years. All three are the most satisfying buys so far this summer.
Compare that to the defensive frailties Celtic are having and it’s a stark contrast. Dedryck Boyata is refusing to play for Brendan Rodgers’ men, and fans aren’t convinced with Jack Hendry or Jozo Simunovic. Where gaps have been filled at Ibrox, those same gaps look to have opened at Parkhead.
In midfield, Gerrard looks to have acquired a good balance to his side. Scott Arfield, Ovie Ejaria, and Lassana Coulibaly provide Rangers with stability. As a trio, they cover all bases in the engine room and have rid the club of their midfield fragility.
Celtic’s midfield remains strong, and probably their strongest area of the team. However, they’ve failed to improve it, and big-name players could leave should they fail to qualify for the Champions League.
Rangers also appear to be strengthening where Celtic look like weakening – up front.
Alfredo Morelos has burst back into form, and he is one of the most prolific strikers in the league when in that kind of mood. Sadiq is the back-up man, whilst Rangers want Kyle Lafferty as the third option.
The Northern Irishman has been a thorn in Celtic’s side, having scored four goals in his last five against them. Adding someone of his calibre to the striking ranks would only boost quality.
Meanwhile, both Moussa Dembele and Odsonne Edouard remain crocked for Celtic. With just Leigh Griffiths patrolling the line, Rodgers must be concerned at the lack of options he has.
Added to that, both Dembele and Griffiths have proven themselves to be injury prone. It could leave for some sticky situations for Celtic this season in terms of striker selection.
So whilst Rangers have operated on a fraction of the money Celtic have, they’ve certainly won the transfer battle so far. The Parkhead side are standing still whilst Gerrard’s men soar in confidence with their new recruits.
That’s not to say Rangers will win the league. It will remain an extremely tough battle to topple Rodgers’ double-treble winners.
However, it’s fair to say that Rangers are looking like the winners of preseason as they make ground on their bitter rivals.