It has been an interesting summer with the addition of many Portugese imports at Ibrox. This is my take on how Pedro Caixinha has assembled his squad so far and their chances in the Scottish Premiership this season.
A mixed-bag in terms of players going out this summer in Govan. After impressing, the decision to release defender Clint Hill came as a slight shock to the Rangers supporters. With the signing of Bruno Alves though, you cannot deny the pedigree is of an even higher standard and that can only be seen as a positive. Furthermore, Fabio Cardoso has came in and replaced the ineffective Phillipe Senderos who flopped in his spell in Scottish football. With the rest of the Rangers defence staying the same, it looks to be a good base for the manager to work with. Foderingham and Alnwick seem to be capable enough goalkeepers while Tavernier, Wallace, Hodson and Beerman are all comfortable playing on the flanks. With David Bates and Ross McCrorie on the periphery of the squad, the defence has depth and strength in it this term with Danny Wilson completing that positional group.
When you look at the midfield, it is obvious that improvements have been made. With Rossiter and Kranjcar returning from injury with the additions of Graeme Dorrans and Ryan Jack, the centre of the park looks strong for the Gers. With the presence of Carlos Pena; Jason Holt and Josh Windass, it gives Caixinha a good balance heading into the next season, with lots of options to choose from.
Up front, the biggest signing of the summer for Rangers, in my opinion, was keeping Kenny Miller. The influential, experienced, striker started the season strongly by scoring n the Europa League and if he can continue to show the form that led to Caixinha awarding him a new deal then he will be into double figures for goals again this term. With the addition of South American’s Eduardo Herrera and Alfredo Morelos, there is natural goalscorers amongst the ranks at Ibrox this coming season – but, the big question is if the players can adapt quickly enough to their new surroundings to hit the ground running. To supplement the goals, Rangers have retained the services of Waghorn while also bringing in the pacey winger, Daniel Candeias, as well as Dalcio, who has joined on loan from Benfica.
With Joe Dodoo, Harry Forrester and Rob Kiernan still at the club but not in the immediate plans of the manager, it could be anticipated that these three players may seek to leave the club before the end of August. I would also expect some further loan moves to happen, with Jordan Thompson, Ryan Hardie and Liam Kelly all top of the list, perhaps. These players are likely to be next in line to make the breakthrough from the Under-2o’s squad, after Bates and Beerman made impressions last term after stepping up from Graeme Murty’s Development Squad. Aidan Wilson, Jamie Barjonas and Liam Burt are other names in which could be sent out on loan with a view to returning better players, after these three players have also made fleeting appearances in and around the first-team squad over the last year or so. On paper, the squad looks stronger and should be of a higher standard this season, however, I don’t see Rangers challenging Celtic over the course of a season. I think once again, Rangers will be battling it out for second, alongside Aberdeen. I think at this present time, both sides are evenly poised with strength in depth being added by both teams. Aberdeen’s longer European campaign may help them in the opening games of the season while Rangers top up their fitness over the coming weeks; the friendlies played in that time by the Gers may be enough to allow them to hit the ground running – all will be revealed on Sunday.