Rangers are set for a major Filip Helander boost as the Swedish international returns to training with his potential return to the Ibrox side on the immediate horizon.
New manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst confirmed the news ahead of the clash with Hibs and explained that the player is now working his way back to fitness [Rangers].
That old cliché about returning players being like new signings might have been well worn out over the years but if ever it was pertinent to Rangers, then it’s right now.
But even with Helander back in the squad Rangers may well need to dip back into the market come January as the club’s deficiencies in defence have been highlighted by his absence.
Is signing a new defender a Rangers transfer priority this January as Filip Helander returns?
Since Big Fil has been out ofthe side the Rangers defence has capitulated at times, the club keeping only four clean sheets in 16 matches, going on a run of conceding the first goal six games on the bounce.
Last season Steven Gerrard dovetailed between Helander and Balogun but the Nigerian international’s need for regular rotation effected the team and has also resulted in an injury.
In Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s first two matches in charge, Calvin Bassey has stepped into the position and impressed moving inside from his traditional left-back berth.
Bigger tests are to come for Calvin over the next few weeks and as fans work him into the club’s latest chant, the growing cult adoration of the left-back will only grow stronger if he makes the berth his own.
Especially since Jack Simpson doesn’t appear to have stepped up to the mantel since joining the club.
Connor Goldson – who was once again caught out and lacked concentration for that Livingston goal at the weekend – has also looked a fraction of the player who powered us to 55 last season.
A lack of form, the necessity of his involvement and the ongoing conversation around his contract situation obviously haven’t helped, but Filip Helander is clearly Goldson’s preferred defensive partner.
All of this combined means that even with Helander’s return – and Bassey’s emergence – the centre-back area remains one held together at times with bandages and deep heat.
Reinforcements are clearly needed and even with Big Fil back in the squad come next month it’s clear that signing a solid centre-half should be a transfer priority in January.
Some fans have mused about the potential of recalling Nikola Katic but as things stand the Croatian still have a lot to prove back in the Balkans.