Why Rangers must recruit proven stars this summer if they are to overhaul Celtic
COMMENT By Matt Farr
With just four games left to play in the Scottish Premiership season, the best Rangers can hope for is to finish the campaign strongly.
They sit third in the table, nine points adrift of second-placed Aberdeen, and an astonishing 36 points adrift of rivals Celtic.
The monumental deficit Rangers face behind their Old Firm rivals has been amplified by their six-game winless run against Celtic in all competitions this term, and Pedro Caixinha has a massive task on his hands to turn it around.
A successful recruitment campaign this summer will be imperative if Rangers realistically seek to challenge Celtic for titles next season, or else they risk slipping even further behind not only Celtic, but also Aberdeen.
However, while Caixinha may feel inclined to build for the future, and acquire more exciting young talent for the club’s ranks, what the club needs right now is experience.
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His predecessor, Mark Warburton, put particular emphasis on the need to bring in young talent, but evidence has showed this season that the overall quality of the squad he has assembled is far from the required standard.
Rangers’ most consistent, and most reliable performers this season, have been two veterans – Kenny Miller and Clint Hill.
That says a lot about Warburton’s failed recruitment strategy, but also gives Caixinha an idea of where to start this summer.
By all means, the Portuguese should look to snap up the most exciting prospects from the next generation, but he will also need to find himself experienced heads, and perhaps more importantly, some leaders.
In each of their six meetings with Celtic this season, Rangers have been all at see. Aside from certain individuals – mainly Miller – few have recognised the occasion and stepped up.
If Rangers are to eat way at the ever-growing gap between them and the current Scottish champions, Caixinha needs to prioritise experienced – not necessarily veteran – talent.
They of course, need to be able to improve the current squad. But there should be more than enough options out there.
The likes of Miller and Hill have shown that while they are not likely to be long-term assets at Ibrox, they can still have a defining impact.
Experienced Premier League players such as Darren Fletcher, Joe Ledley and Charlie Adam, are all out of contract this summer, and one or two such additions could be of great value to Rangers ahead of next season.
In other Rangers news, fans on Twitter have delivered their verdicts on reported interest in this defender.