Erik Botheim: Who is Rangers’ Norwegian transfer target & why did he stop playing for Russian team Krasnodar?

One of the striker’s close friends is Manchester City striker Erling Braut Haaland

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In a bid to add some firepower to his frontline, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst has outlined Erik Botheim as his priority summer signing for Rangers.

The striker, who last played for Bodø/Glimt in the Norwegian Premier League has a record of a goal every other game for the side, who famously beat Jose Mourinho’s Roma in the European Conference League.

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With the Europa League runners-up closing in on his signature, we look at who he is, and the controversy surrounding his Krasnodar move.

Why do Rangers want to sign Botheim?

With limited natural goalscorers in the squad, it’s clear why the side would target a solid number nine, who has impressed both domestically and continentally.

The season that has just finished culminated with Rangers’ top scorer being James Tavernier, a defender.

Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe finished second and third respectively with a decent goal tally, but to elevate the side they need a natural goalscorer.

With Botheim also reportedly close friends with a certain Erling Haaland, he knows a thing or two about where the net is.

What is the reported fee for Botheim?

Signing one of Europe’s breakout stars would require a decent fee, but Botheim is actually a free agent since his contract at Russian outfit FC Krasnodar was terminated.

It is understood that Rangers are not the only club interested in signing the 22-year-old, as ‘many offers are on the table’ for the striker.

Why did he stop playing for Krasnodar?

After a great start to the season for Bodø/Glimt, Botheim sealed a reported £6.75 million move to Russian Premier League side Krasnodar, which was thought to be Botheim’s first move up the football ladder.

However, Botheim terminated his contract with the Russian side, and never made an appearance for them.

Botheim terminated his contract due to the Russian invasion in Ukraine, with his agent taking to Instagram to confirm the news.

On social media, his agent said: “Erik Botheim has terminated his employment contract with FC Krasnodar with immediate effect.

“This has been done with ‘just cause’ and in accordance with article I4BIS of the FIFA regulations.

“Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is still ongoing and in all (of the) circumstances, Erik considered he had no other choice”.

Who is Erik Botheim?

Erik Botheim is a 22-year-old striker, who is currently a free agent.

Despite signing for Russian side Krasnodar in January 2022, he has only ever played professional football in his home country, Norway and was born in Oslo.

His youth career was spent with Lyn and Rosenborg, with the latter being one of the powerhouse clubs in Norway.

Botheim made his senior debut for Lyn when he was just 15 years old, coming off of the bench in a 2-2 with Ullern in June 2015.

Still aged just 15, he scored his first goal in professional football in a 9-2 home win against Holmen.

He signed for Rosenborg in 2016, only turning out 19 times for the side, but still managing to net four goals.

Botheim then joined FK Bodø/Glimt. On 21 October 2021, Botheim scored a brace in Bodo/Glimt’s 6-1 demolition of Jose Mourinho’s Roma in the UEFA Europa Conference League.