The big Croatian defender suffered from a cruciate ligament injury which has appeared to put the final nail in the coffin of his Ibrox career despite the 25-year-old completing his rehabilitation.
What’s more, the 6ft2 centre-back has also proven his fitness having spent the season back in the Balkans with Hajduk Split, finishing 2nd in the HNL.1 and even lifting the Croatian Cup.
For whatever reason – be it personal or club related – the Croatian outfit never stumped up the reported £3m it would take to make the deal permanent and Niko Katic finds himself back at Rangers.
But by Katic’s own admission, breaking back into the Rangers squad is a “struggle” with competition at centre-back as fierce as it has ever been as he opened up on his future.
“I have a contract, I played some matches during the preparations, some I didn’t,” said Niko Katic [Sportske Novosti].
“There are a lot of us, there is strong competition, but as everywhere, the struggle is day by day. I think I have the quality to play for Rangers, but of course it all depends on the coach, we’ll see.
“That’s all I can say, I can’t say whether I’ll stay at Rangers or not, whether I’ll sign a new contract or not.
“But I definitely believe in my qualities. I had a difficult two years, I missed the first one due to an injury, last season after a year of not playing I was on loan in Hajduk, it was not easy to play after the injury. Now I finally have that real feeling back and I’m in a good position.”
Niko Katic sounds Rangers exit alarm
The defender has walked back into a competitive squad which has just added two new international centre-backs and has some burgeoning talent on the edges.
Rangers didn’t sign Scotland international John Souttar to sit on the bench, nor did they splash £3m rising to £4m to sign Ben Davies from Liverpool to rotate him around the squad, meaning there are at least three players in front of Niko Katic when you include stalwart Connor Goldson in the mix.
This is before you talk about Swedish international Filip Helander or emerging talent Leon King, with Jack Simpson probably the only centre-back in the squad Niko Katic is in front of.
All of this suggests that Niko’s future is certainly up in the air and its not the first time we’ve heard this recently.
According to one leading outlet, Niko is one of four players who’ve been told they can move on this summer.