Forgotten Rangers defender Nikola Katic to be given Ibrox lifeline, while centre-back expresses desire to extend his stay
Light Blues manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst is expected to give the Croatian a chance to prove himself during pre-season
Forgotten Rangers defender Nikola Katic will be given one final chance to resurrect his Ibrox career as manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst begins to shape his squad for next season.
The Croatian spent the entire 2021/22 season on loan to Hajduk Split after a serious knee injury curtailed his progress in Scotland.
The 35-year-old was previously a first-team regular under former Light Blues boss Steven Gerrard but hasn’t kicked a ball for the club since before the pandemic in 2020.
Many supporters feared Katic had played his last game for Rangers when he returned to his homeland last summer after turning our briefly for the club’s ‘B’ team.
However, GlasgowWorld understands the Croats are unlikely to trigger the £3million option to buy him permanently after making 21 appearances this term.
Katic is believed to be keen on returning to Ibrox in an attempt to force his way into Van Bronckhorst’s plans this summer and the Dutchman is expected to use pre-season as a chance to run the rule over his fitness.
Centre-back candidates next season?
With centre-halfs Connor Goldson and Leon Balogun yet to agree contract extensions, Hearts ace John Souttar will arrive on a free transfer after signing a pre-contract agreement earlier this year.
The departure of mainstay Goldson on a free transfer would be a major blow, but Balogun, who has overcome various injury set-backs this season, has pledged his allegiance to the club.
Speaking after Saturday’s Scottish Cup final victory over Hearts, the Nigerian said: “I think everybody who watches me how I move around the club and within the club, they know that I’ve absolutely fell in love with this club.
“I’ve been getting knocked down and standing back up, I think that’s been kind of my career. I’ve had a lot of downs and I always pick myself back up.
“So I think that is why probably me and Rangers are quite a good fit. And even (playing in) the cup final, that for me personally, all the support that was outstanding, I want to get that into my DNA more.
“I would love to stay, I think they know that and I hope that I can announce something for my future with Rangers soon.”
Katic will also bolster Van Bronckhorst’s central defensive options, as will Swede Filip Helander on his return from a foot injury and academy product Leon King, who has been widely tipped to be a future star.
Calvin Bassey has emerged as Rangers top performer this season but the club may be tempted to cash in on their prized asset if they recieve a substantial offer for the Nigerian this summer.
Jack Simpson, who remains under contract until 2025, could also be allowed to leave, while transfer target Danihlo Doekhi has opted to sign for FC Union Berlin.