Steven Gerrard thought Serge Atakayi was capable of making it at Rangers and handed him a first-team debut as a teenager against Motherwell in November 2018.
Just a few months later, the pacy winger joined SJK in Finland on loan in order to build up experience, after being told by the Gers boss that he had a chance of permanently breaking into the first-team squad for the 2019/20 season [Daily Record].
However, a second appearance would never arrive.
Atakayi struggled with injuries after returning from his loan stint and only mustered a couple of appearances for the Colts in the Challenge Cup before a decision was taken to end his three-year stay at Ibrox.
SJK snapped him up on a permanent deal on 30th December 2019 for a reported fee of £100,000 [Daily Record] and he left reluctantly, posting an emotional farewell on Instagram the following day.
That season, he would go on to play regularly for SJK, scoring once and notching five assists from 15 starts to help them to a seventh-place finish in the 2020 Veikkausliiga.
That momentum hasn’t carried over to 2021, though.
The 22-year-old former Ger is still listed as a player on the SJK website, but he’s only made one appearance and two matchday squads from 12 fixtures so far this year and it’s unclear whether or not it’s an injury or a lack of form that is keeping him out of the fold.
Atakayi became the youngest goalscorer in Finnish top-flight history when he netted for FF Jaro as a 16-year-old prior to his switch to Rangers, but despite a return to the country in which he spent much of his youth, his career is yet to take off in the way many thought it would.
In other news, Rangers are on course to receive a major pre-season player boost.