Rangers Champions League snub explained with £2m man set to leave

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Rangers Champions League snub explained with £2m man set to leave

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has confirmed Nikola Katic will leave the club this summer after the Croatian wasn’t included in the Gers’ Champions League squad.

Dutch coach Gio confirmed the 25-year-old’s situation as he previewed the Scottish Premiership clash with Livingston this weekend.

The Gers are set to face off against Belgian Pro League side Union Saint Gilloise next week in the third round of Champions League qualifying and as such have registered their squad with UEFA.

Nikola Katic is amongst the most notable absentees from the 23-man squad and joins the likes of fellow fringe stars Jack Simpson and Stephen Kelly in missing out.

Back-up right-back Mateusz Zukowski is also not included, whilst injured first team pair Filip Helander and Kemar Roofe also miss out, hinting that they may be out of first-team action for a while yet.

But it was Nikola Katic specifically who was the subject of conversation ahead of the Livingston clash and Giovanni van Bronckhorst has confirmed the defender will leave Rangers in this window.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst: Nikola Katic to leave Rangers

“I’ve spoken with Niko last week about his future with the club and we agreed it would be nice for Niko to get another club and play elsewhere so his future for the next season will not be at Rangers,” said Van Bronckhorst [Rangers].

“Of course, he has to find a club where he can play. We will help him with that and hopefully he will find a new challenge elsewhere.”

Katic has been at Rangers since 2018, when former Ibrox manager Steven Gerrard spent a reported £2m to bring the centre-back to Rangers from Croatian side Slaven Bepulo.

A popular player amongst the fans, Nikola Katic won over the support with his committed, full-bloodied if not often raw performances over his first two seasons at Ibrox.

However, a serious cruciate ligament injury ruled Katic out of the club’s 55th title winning season before the defender spent last season on loan at Hajduk Split in his homeland.

With the Ibrox side adding John Souttar and Ben Davies to the squad this summer, it was always going to be tough for the defender to break back into a competitive defence.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Now the challenge will be for Nikola Katic to find a club where he can play consistently and Rangers fans will wish the defender all the best in his future career.

Playing 59 times for Rangers, the big defender’s crowning moment at Ibrox came in scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory at Celtic Park in 2019.

Rangers Champions League Squad:

Allan McGregor, Robby McCrorie, Jon McLaughlin, James Tavernier, Ridvan Yilmaz, Connor Goldson, John Souttar, Ben Davies, Borna Barisic, John Lundstram, Ryan Jack, Steven Davis, Ryan Kent, Glen Kamara, James Sands, Fashion Sakala, Scott Arfield, Antonio Colak, Tom Lawrence, Rabbi Matondo, Alfredo Morelos, Scott Wright, Malik Tillman

Meanwhile, another fringe Rangers star has left the club to join a Premiership rival.

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