According to a recent report from The Scottish Sun, Rangers have expressed an interest in luring Gareth McAuley to Ibrox. The 38-year-old is currently a free agent after leaving Championship side West Brom earlier in the summer, thus bringing the curtain down on a seven-year stint at the Hawthorns, in which time he played 227 matches for the Midlands outfit.
And reports suggest that Steven Gerrard’s Gers, as well as fellow Scottish Premiership sides Aberdeen and Hearts, are keen on the £900,000-rated defender (as per Transfermarkt), but it is Gerrard who must win the race to further bolster his Light Blues rear-guard.
Ultimately, Rangers were the highest conceders of any side that finished in the top seven of the Scottish Premiership last season, shipping a staggering 50 goals in their 38 league matches, double what Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic conceded.
Thus, it was pretty clear that new manager Gerrard, who replaced Graeme Murty in the hotseat over the summer, had to address the defensive deficiencies, and the arrival of Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic has gone some way to doing that.
And with clean sheets in five of their nine competitive games so far this season, and shipping only once in each of the other four, it’s evident that those defensive additions have helped the Gers at the back, although with just Ross McCrorie as the other centre back in the squad, further depth is certainly required to deal with the demands of domestic and European football.
And while McAuley is very much in the twilight of his career at the age of 38, he could be the ideal addition to add further strength and indeed experience to the Rangers rear-guard.
The defender enjoyed a fine stint at West Brom between 2011 and 2018 to underline his credentials as a Premier League centre back, with last season one of just two in which the Northern Ireland international failed to reach 30 league appearances.
In fact, the season before saw McAuley carry a threat at the opposite end of the pitch as well in netting seven times for the Baggies en route to their tenth place finish in the English top-flight – thus, he is clearly a presence in both boxes.
Yes, his age may be of concern to Rangers fans, especially given they took a punt on Bruno Alves last year and that didn’t prove fruitful, but McAuley has proven time and again to be a hugely adept centre back at Premier League level, and as such his both the ability and indeed the experience, having also played 79 times for his country, to seriously benefit the Rangers side.
And with the Gers somewhat short in that position, especially if they harbour ambitions of competing on the European stage this term, a move for the 38-year-old would certainly bolster their rear-guard heading into the remainder of the campaign.
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