Steven Gerrard took advantage of an extended summer transfer window, but perhaps Glasgow Rangers missed the chance to solve their glaring weakness. Namely, a dangerous shortage of centre-back options.
Two backup strikers were brought in in Cedric Itten and Kemar Roofe, whilst Leon Balogun was recruited as injury cover for Croatian defender Nikola Katic, having joined the club on an initial one-year-deal with the option for another year.
This means that the Ibrox boss currently only really has two options to choose from for one position, as Rangers defender Connor Goldson is arguably one of the first names on the team sheet. Meanwhile, George Edmundson is widely expected to leave in January after falling afoul of the coronavirus protocols, which means that Balogun and Filip Helander are vying for a place besides Goldson at the back.
Barring a sudden miracle, an injury crisis could cause a real problem, so Gerrard may want to consider dipping into the club’s academy set-up.
Some players are born great, some players achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. Leon King seems destined to fit into all three of the aforementioned categories.
King is clearly highly-rated by the Ibrox boss as he was involved in first-team training ahead of the Europa League clash with Standard Liege last month.
Former Rangers coach Ian Durrant told The Scottish Sun that summer signing Calvin Bassey could form part of a makeshift defensive pairing, but believes King is one to watch for the future.
He said: “They have Connor Goldson, Filip Helander and George Edmundson as established defenders.”
“The new lad Calvin Bassey seems to be able to play centrally in defence as well.”
“There’s a central defender on the books called Leon King, who’s only 16, but everyone raves about him. He could be involved more,” he added.
Rangers development coach Graeme Murty has heaped praise on the teenage prospect in the past, insisting he fully deserves all of the attention, which is high praise indeed from the former first-team caretaker manager.
“He’s someone who is getting a lot of press now because he’s quite young but he’s there on merit,” he said, via Rangers News.
“We don’t hesitate in pushing them forward if we think we can extend their learning and that’s what it’s about. It’s about making sure that Leon is challenged to the right level.
“There will be a time that he drops to his own age and we expect him to be the best player on the pitch, regardless of who else is on it.”
Although King is still in the early stages of his career, he has shown promising signs of progress already, hence why he was given a taste of first-team training before the Europa League tie, before being named on the bench.
Whilst Bassey can fill in at the back, the 4-cap Scotland U17 international has impressed the club’s hierarchy with his performances in reserve and youth team fixtures. Despite his young age, he has been a regular for the national team development squad as well, which is surely a sign of things to come.
Either way, it may not be too long before Gerrard starts to put his faith in the youth system, that’s for sure.