Steven Gerrard’s appointment as Rangers manager was a huge statement of the club’s intent to chase down Celtic in 2018/19, but the Liverpool icon was never going to be able to bridge the gap on his own.
It was always clear that Gerrard needed to revamp the squad at Ibrox and one of the most exciting elements of his appointment was the talent from Anfield he would be able to attract north of the border.
Bringing in a raft of new players is always a risk because they may not settle in their new surroundings or gel together as a team but Gerrard simply had to overhaul the playing staff – and has done exactly that.
We’ve taken a look at each of Rangers’ summer signings individually to examine whether Gerrard has done good business or not…
According to Transfermarkt, 25-year-old Goldson has been Rangers’ most expensive summer recruit so far, costing over £3m to move to Ibrox from Premier League outfit Brighton.
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The defender only saw 199 minutes of league action as the Seagulls avoided instant relegation from the top flight but he is a player with pace, aerial ability and good reading of the game and should help provide a sturdy foundation for Gerrard’s new-look Rangers side.
Steven Thompson has been waxing lyrical about Goldson, calling him ‘immense’ and it is impossible to overstate the impact a classy centre-half can have in terms of spreading confidence through a team, especially one that needs to gel quickly. Goldson should be a hit.
The young Croatian centre-half cost £2.05m according to Transfermarkt and will hope to form the bedrock of the Gers defence alongside Goldson.
He made 34 appearances in the Croatian top flight last season and has one full international cap for the World Cup finalists, so will be hoping to increase that tally in the coming years.
Rangers’ decision to hand him a four-year deal is an indication of the faith they have in him. As ever, that represents a risk if it doesn’t come off but a 21-year-old international centre-half to go alongside Goldson’s Premier League experience looks a solid deal on paper.
Another arrival from Brighton, but one that was agreed as part of Murphy’s loan spell at Ibrox last season.
That means that Gers fans know what to expect from Murphy, and will be excited to see what he can offer over the course of a whole season, as part of a side Gerrard will hope offers more in the way of attacking vibrancy and quality.
Another man from whom the Gers faithful know what to expect as the experienced goalkeeper makes his return to Ibrox six years after his departure in 2012.
The 36-year-old is a safe pair of hands for a side that needs to make strides quickly but Jak Alnwick is right to declare that he hopes to battle with McGregor to be the first-choice this season.
Even if Alnwick wins that race, McGregor can make a big contribution by passing on his vast experience to the English stopper who is 11 years his junior.
This could well be a brilliant signing. Arfield was an unfashionable but effective weapon for high-flying Burnley in the Premier League and Sean Dyche does not suffer passengers.
That means that Arfield has the unflinching desire that Gerrard needs in order to raise standards at Ibrox and bridge the gap to Celtic.
He is not the classiest player, but he is a non-stop runner, a constant pest, should be able to plunder his fair share of goals in Scotland and at 29, he should have plenty to offer.
The versatile Scouser looked an incredible prospect during the 2013/14 season, in which Liverpool came within a slip by his new manager of clinching their first Premier League title, marrying attacking endeavour with defensive solidity.
Plenty has happened since then but there is no doubt that England international quality is within Jon Flanagan and if Gerrard can coax it out, this could be an unbelievable signing.
It may be tempting to conclude that Ejaria is another player Rangers would have had no access to without Gerrard. The midfielder spent the second half of last season on loan at Sunderland, suffering relegation with the Black Cats.
Therefore, Ibrox represents a step up for the Liverpool loanee and an excellent platform for the talented, energetic midfielder to progress to the next level. He certainly has the talent.
The options for Gerrard are older, proven players like Arfield or young, hungry talents like Ejaria and the mix should work well if he can blend them into a cohesive team quickly enough.
The fact that Sadiq comes on loan from Champions League finalists Roma is heartening, the fact that this is his fourth temporary spell away from the Italian capital and he has not set the world alight in any of the previous three is not.
Gerrard knew he had to refresh his attack – at the end of the day, unearthing a 20-goal striker would be a shortcut to curing many of his ills – and has taken a punt with Sadiq.
The initial instinct is that he will be a ‘remember him?’ signing as opposed to one who makes a real impression, but he should get opportunities to shine. If he takes them, he could become a cult hero.
This one could be the jewel in Gerrard’s crown. Kent is an outstanding talent with good Championship experience and maturity but also a desire to prove himself as someone who can perform consistently at a club with big expectations.
Looking across town at the impact Patrick Roberts had at Celtic, there is no reason why Kent cannot emulate his countryman. He is just as talented and has achieved more in the English second tier than Roberts had when he moved north of the border.
The Manchester City loanee has to be the man Kent takes inspiration from, and there is no reason why he couldn’t prove to be Gerrard’s very own Roberts.
He was in and out of the Angers side last season, but Ligue 1 experience should stand Coulibaly in good stead in Scottish football.
It is a higher technical standard but a much lower tempo, but working with one of the most legendary central midfielders in football history should see Coulibaly soak up knowledge that sees him vastly improve.
Ejaria would look to be initially better suited to adjusting well to Scottish football, but he comes from good pedigree.