Rangers supporters in the Transfer Tavern are eagerly anticipating the remainder of the summer transfer window, what with new manager Steven Gerrard already beginning to stamp his authority on things at Ibrox.
The 37-year-old was confirmed as Graeme Murty’s successor earlier this month to take over ahead of the 2018/19 season, but the Liverpool legend has already been busy assembling a squad he hopes is capable of challenging champions Celtic next season. Allan McGregor and Scott Arfield have both joined the Gers on free transfers, while the Light Blues have secured Jamie Murphy’s services permanently after a fine loan spell at the club in the second half of the campaign.
As such, there are many optimistic Rangers fans in the Tavern at present, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by recent reports linking Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino with a move away this summer.
And given that Rangers boss Gerrard played and succeeded under current Toon boss Rafa Benitez at Liverpool many years ago, the latter could well help his former captain out by offering the linked-away star to the Ibrox club.
Ultimately, things have been a struggle for the 21-year-old upon return from injury back in October, with the midfielder mustering just two Premier League starts for the Magpies in 2018.
Yes, much of that has been down to the fine form of the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Mo Diame, but Merino himself has looked a shadow of the player that hit the ground running at St James’ Park at the start of the season.
And with Newcastle taking just a matter of months to turn his loan move into a permanent one, Benitez clearly rates him highly as well, which is why reports of a move away this summer are somewhat surprising.
However, with the current central midfield options keeping Merino out of the team, Benitez may be willing to sanction a loan move for the 21-year-old, and his former Liverpool skipper Gerrard should seek to ask the question about a move to Rangers.
Clearly, the Light Blues are in need of shrewd additions this summer in a bid to bridge the gap to Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic, but they also need genuine quality in key areas of the pitch – Merino would bring that to the midfield ranks.
And who better for the Spain Under-21 international to learn from than Gerrard, who of course was a world-class central midfielder in his day, and as such may be able to mentor Merino to get the very best out of his undoubted potential.
Yes, it would be a big ask for Rangers to seal a deal for the 21-year-old, but with Gerrard and Benitez going back a long way, and Merino potentially in need of first team football next term, a loan deal could well be struck by the two parties this summer.
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