Steven Gerrard was the driving force behind the surprise new contract handed by Rangers to Nikola Katic, Football Insider understands.
The Light Blues announced yesterday that the Croatia international had put pen to paper on a new four-year contract that ties him to the club until 2023.
Ibrox sources have told Football Insider that Gerrard pushed for Katic to be rewarded with a significant pay rise for establishing himself as a key man for the Scottish Premiership leaders.
The new deal is worth multi millions of pounds and cements the 23-year-old’s place as one of the senior players and bigger earners at the club.
Katic has impressed as a regular alongside Connor Goldson in the heart of Gerrard’s defence since his arrival in June 2018.
He originally signed a four-year contract but that has now been improved to reflect the progress he has made in Rangers’ improving side.
Gerrard spoke warmly of Katic’s professionalism and match preparation, and backed him to use the new deal as motivation to show why he deserves to be seen as an elite player in Scotland.
Katic has featured 41 times for the Light Blues since his arrival from NK Slaven Belupo in the summer of last year.
He made his competitive debut in a Europa League qualifier against FK Shkupi and scored his first goal against NK Osijek in the same qualifying campaign.
Renowned for his aerial dominance and fearlessness, Katic has made 11 appearances this season, all of which have been in the starting XI.