Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has revealed that the Light Blues had been trailing Croatian defender Nikola Katic from before he was appointed as manager after finally landing the defensive powerhouse from Slaven Belupo.
Katic became the Gers’ fifth signing of the summer when he completed his move from the Croatian minnows and Gerrard revealed he was a name suggested to him when he was first appointed in May.
The Gers boss thinks the 21-year-old has “huge potential” after sealing a four-year deal with the Light Blues and is “highly thought of” by the Croatian national team’s coaching staff.
“He was a name that suggested to me when I come in the door so Rangers have monitored him for a long time,” Gerrard said, as quoted by the Scottish Sun.
“He’s a player with huge potential already highly thought of in terms of international level in Croatia and for the 21s and he’s already been capped at full-time level.
“We’ve had conversations with people in Croatia who’ve been around the kid for a long time.”
Football Insider verdict:
Katic’s signing seems to have been one of Mark Allen’s targets and it is refreshing to see the Gers look beyond the usual markets of the UK and western Europe when looking for new talent. Places like Croatia can be fantastic areas to recruit new talent cheap before polishing them up and moving them on a few years later at an inflated price. Obviously, the player needs to perform consistently and keep his end of the bargain but there’s little to suggest that Katic wouldn’t be able to cope with Scottish football. After already making his full debut for Croatia, the 21-year-old could well find himself a regular in his country’s squad before too long if he hits the ground running at Ibrox. Even if Steven Gerrard views Connor Goldson and Bruno Alves as his first-choice central defenders, Alves’ participation at the World Cup should see Katic get an early chance to impress in the Europa League qualifiers.
In other Rangers transfer news, they are leading the hunt to sign an in-demand attacker from Liverpool.