Giovanni van Bronckhorst will have some tough decisions to make at Rangers ahead of the January transfer window.
The Dutchman has a number of his first team squad on contracts which are set to expire at the end of the season and could need to make some big calls on their futures in the coming weeks, as a few could leave on pre-contract deals in the winter window.
First-choice centre-backs Leon Balogun and Connor Goldson are both on the list, although the former has an option to extend it by a further year.
As Balogun could stay for another season, Goldson may be the centre-back that Rangers are most likely to lose on a free transfer next summer. This could leave Ross Wilson needing to source a replacement for him in the transfer market… unless Van Bronckhorst steps in and makes a big decision which could save the club millions by recalling Nikola Katic.
The Croatian is currently on loan to Hajduk Split in his homeland after being sidelined for a year with a cruciate ligament injury, taking out the entire 2020/21 campaign. After being out for so long, the Gers sent him out on loan to regain his fitness and he has been thriving on loan.
Katic has averaged a SofaScore rating of 7.00 for Hajduk in the league this season. As per SofaScore, he has won an impressive 66% of his duels on the pitch and made four clearances per game, showing off his defensive quality for the Croatian club.
He has previously shown that he can excel in the Scottish Premiership, too. Back in 2019, then-Gers boss Steven Gerrard heaped praise on the defender as he said: “The kid is a winner and a warrior. We know what he gives. Anyone his age, after giving the penalty away, might have gone into their shell. It might have affected their performance.
“But if you knock Niko Katic down, he’s gonna get back up and come again. That’s the man, that’s the player.”
The 25-year-old played 59 times and scored six goals for Rangers in two seasons prior to his cruciate ligament injury, showing that he was relied upon to play consistently. His form for Hajduk suggests that he could be ready to come back to Ibrox and be a serious first-team option again after recovering from such a huge body blow.
Therefore, Van Bronckhorst could bring him back into the fold and spare any need for Wilson to splash money on a replacement for Goldson. Katic could simply walk back into the team and pick up where he left off, starting alongside Balogun in the side, but the Gers boss must recall him first to offer him the opportunity to impress the new broom at Ibrox.