COMMENT By Richard Parks
Rangers must hijack Celtic’s bid to sign Liverpool wonderkid Rhian Brewster.
It would be a huge statement of intent from the Light Blues as they begin the long process of narrowing the gap on their bitter rivals.
The Scottish Herald claimed this week that Celtic are close to completing a season-long loan for the striker, who was part of the England squad which won the Under-17 World Cup last year and even won the Golden Boot award as the tournament’s top scorer.
It is said that the deal is not yet done amid interest from clubs south of the border but it is “more likely than not” that the 18-year-old will head to Glasgow next season as talks reach an advanced stage.
Cue a clinical and, for Rangers fans, delicious hijacking of the Celtic deal by manager-to-be Steven Gerrard.
Given the noises from Gerrard (publicly) and the Ibrox club (privately), it is surely only a matter of time before the Liverpool icon is unveiled as the new manager.
A key plank of discussions will have been transfers and the budget and wage bill afforded to the 37-year-old to overhaul a squad that has sat in Celtic’s shadows for so long.
A good start would be a handful of loan and permanent signings from Liverpool, where Gerrard is the Under-18s coach and an icon of the club.
He will know Brewster inside out – his strengths, qualities, flaws, areas for improvement – even though he is such precocious that most of his appearances this season have been for the Under-23s.
Brewster has yet to make his senior Liverpool bow but has scored eight goals in 19 appearances for the club’s Under-23s this season.
Brewster is lightning quick, has excellent movement and has already proved himself to be a prolific goalscorer at age-group level.
With doubts over the futures of strikers Alfredo Morelos, Eduardo Herrara and Jason Cummings, Rangers are in the market for at least two centre-forwards this summer.
They won’t have a huge budget to play with, and a season-long loan for a potential Liverpool star of the future makes sense for all parties.
And, it wouldn’t have be good to do the dirty on Celtic at the same time.