Niko Kranjcar arrived at Rangers towards the end of his career in a deal which the supporters were thoroughly delighted with, but a disruptive cruciate ligament injury tarnished what could have been a glowing relationship between player and club.
Injuries and cruel strokes of misfortune often dictate the pattern of a professional careers in the sporting world. Niko Kranjcar arrived at Ibrox in 2016 as a 31-year-old edging towards the end of his career, but he was still regarded as a huge talent with plenty to offer in the SPFL.
But a cruel twist of fate all but ended the Croatian wizard’s career at the top level and he now finds himself without a club after being released in March last year.
His style of play was an infectiously admirable one which oozed class and technical swagger, and it became apparent in the early days of his Portsmouth career that he possessed a genuine footballing gift.
Whether he was cutting in from the left-wing or finding pockets of space in the centre of the pitch, Kranjcar struck fear into the opposition with his unpredictability and vision for a cutting edge through ball.
Portsmouth have plummeted since the days Kranjcar used to light up Fratton Park and they now find themselves battling for promotion in League One, but they have a new talent gracing the south coast turf with an air of elite quality they would do well to hold on to.
The player in question goes by the name of Ronan Curtis, a left-sided midfield player who possesses that special talent to make defenders second-guess his every move, debating whether to stick or twist when the 22-year-old receives the ball in the final-third.
His style is perhaps a little more direct than Kranjcar’s playmaking approach, but there are certainly similarities to be drawn in the way Curtis collects the ball on the left touchline or in the channel before looking to cause havoc on his favoured right foot.
Portsmouth have reaped the rewards of his clear supremacy at this level in the shape of nine goals and 11 assists from 25 League One appearances this season – a return which has helped Pompey rise to the summit of the division.
But interest from afar is bound to emerge in tandem with Curtis’ eye-catching performances, and Rangers should certainly be one of those sides expressing an interest in the 22-year-old.
The Gers have been lacking a creative spark in the final-third all season but the arrival of Curtis would certainly resolve a notable problem for the club.
Jermaine Defoe’s arrival has served as a real statement of intent this month and proven that Rangers are moving in the right direction once again under Gerrard’s tutelage, and the veteran’s decision will certainly give them a genuine advantage in the transfer market moving forward.
With Kenny Jacket staring promotion in the face, he will be point-blank refusing to entertain offers for Portsmouth’s crown jewel this month, but when the season reaches its conclusion Rangers should join the multitude of clubs who will inevitably be queuing to secure Curtis’ signature.
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