Rangers supporters in the Transfer Tavern are very much looking forward to the rest of the summer transfer window, what with new manager Steven Gerrard having already stamped his authority on things at Ibrox.
The 38-year-old officially took charge of the Scottish giants last week after being confirmed as Graeme Murty’s successor last month, and he has already been very busy shaping and moulding a squad he hopes can challenge dominant Celtic next season. Allan McGregor and Scott Arfield have both joined the Gers on free transfers, while on-loan star Jamie Murphy, who enjoyed a fine second half of the season at Ibrox, has turned his temporary move into a permanent one.
As such, there are many expectant Light Blues supporters in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are growing increasingly intrigued by the prospect of signing defender Kyle Bartley, who has repeatedly been linked with a return to the club.
And were Gerrard’s men to indeed seal a deal for the £3.15 million-rated star (as per Transfermarkt) this summer, it would without doubt be a bigger signing for the club than that of Murphy.
Ultimately, 28-year-old Murphy made the move north of the border back in January in a bid to reignite his career after a testing spell at Brighton, and he did just that with five goals and ten assists in just 19 appearances for the Gers.
And making his loan move permanent is certainly a shrewd addition by the Scottish outfit, and will undoubtedly help them in their quest to bridge the gap to Brendan Rodgers’ Bhoys next season.
However, it’s defensively where Rangers simply must improve next time round given they shipped 50 goals in their 38 Scottish Premiership matches, which was more than any other side that finished in the top seven of the division.
And that is why the addition of Bartley, if they are able to beat Leeds United to their signature, would be a much bigger signing than that of Murphy, no matter how much the latter will offer to the forward ranks.
With David Bates leaving the club this summer, Russell Martin unlikely to stay beyond his loan spell, and the future of Bruno Alves uncertain, Gerrard could find himself short in the centre back department come August. Yet Bartley’s arrival would significantly bolster those ranks.
Importantly though, the 27-year-old would bring genuine quality to the Gers backline after seriously impressing on loan at Leeds back in the 2016/17 campaign, playing a key part in their run to seventh place in the Championship – their struggles this term underline how integral he was to their defence.
And having already experienced life at Ibrox, both before and indeed after the financial troubles, Bartley will understand the pressures and expectations of playing for the Scottish giants, and how much it means to the fans to compete once again with their Old Firm rivals.
Ultimately, if Rangers are to close the gap on Rodgers’ side next term, they have to tighten up at the back. Going forward, they were one of the most impressive teams in the league this time round, but the same can’t be said defensively.
And that is why a deal for Bartley would undoubtedly represent a bigger summer signing for the Light Blues than that of winger Murphy.
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