New Rangers defender Nikola Katic has been compared with Real Madrid icon Luka Modric by his former manager after completing his move to Ibrox.
Neretvanac manager Damir Vucic made the comparison after both players turned down a move earlier in their careers to Croatian giants Hadjuk Split – and Vucic thinks it was clear then that Katic would be a quality player.
Vucic also claimed there was “no situation” that would panic the defender, insisting he is “mentally strong” ahead of linking up with his new team-mates for the first time.
“It was clear even then he would be a good player. To play with men at that age was not a problem for him. He showed no fear,” Vucic said, as quoted by the Evening Times.
“No situation would panic him. He was assured and he was mentally strong.
“We were in the Third Division and Nikola had already had an offer from Hadjuk Split to play with their B team after a trial.
“Perhaps they have made just as big a mistake this time as when Luka Modric was rejected by them.
“It’s proof that sometimes players can develop with a small club.”
Football Insider verdict:
If Rangers can get someone that has the same effect as Luka Modric then the Light Blues have struck gold. While it’s unlikely Katic is going to turn into a world-beater overnight, there’s definitely potential there and the 21-year-old should be a solid addition to the Ibrox squad. Gers fans will be hoping he can emulate his countrymen who have played for the Light Blues in the past, such as Dado Prso and Nikica Jelavic, and help the Gers to their first major trophy since 2011. With the Ibrox side returning for pre-season on Friday, Katic won’t have long to wait to get to know his new team-mates and get to work trying to force his way into the side. The Croatian defender will also benefit from getting to work with the likes of Bruno Alves – assuming he stays at Ibrox – and learn from the 2016 European Championship winner as he winds his career down.
In other Rangers transfer news, they are leading the hunt to sign an in-demand attacker from Liverpool.