Rangers boss Gio van Bronckhorst is facing a summer of change at Ibrox as a number of players look set to depart from Glasgow.
Loan players Aaron Ramsey and Amad Diallo will return to their parent clubs, whilst Leon Balogun, Scott Arfield, Allan McGregor, Steven Davis and Connor Goldson are all out of contract.
This means that Ross Wilson and the Dutch head coach are poised to endure a busy transfer window as they go about replacing these first-team stalwarts if they are unable to keep hold of all of them on new deals.
However, one player from the list that they’ve already replaced is centre-back Goldson. Wilson moved swiftly in January to seal a deal for Hearts tank John Souttar on a pre-contract, which means that the 25-year-old will be arriving at Ibrox in July on a free transfer.
Journalist Ewan Murray dubbed the Scotland international “outstanding” earlier this year, and that term perfectly describes the level of replacement the club have found for Goldson.
In the Premiership this season, Souttar has been in phenomenal form and has eclipsed the current Gers machine in a number of categories, as shown in the graphic below.
As you can see in this comparison, with stats provided by SofaScore, Souttar has performed to a higher standard on a consistent basis, and that is why he should be a fantastic signing for Rangers. He has proven his quality at Premiership level and shown that he can be a better option than Goldson defensively, with his sublime ability to defend his own box illustrated perfectly in those statistics.
Former Hearts boss Craig Levein was previously effusive in his praise of the enforcer, saying: “I’ve known him since he was 12 years old and he’s just got better and better. When he came here from Dundee Utd, we just needed to give him time. He’s grown into the player that I hoped he would be and for me he’s the best centre back in Scotland.
“Just for the fact that he can do wonderful things. His passing of the ball Saturday was fantastic, but he is also now capable physically of competing with any centre forward. His pace is very, very good and he’s strong, focused and aggressive.”
These comments suggest that Souttar also has the quality in possession to make the grade at Ibrox. The Gers have averaged 63.7% of the ball in the league this season, which means that they need their players to be comfortable on the ball in order to build up the play, with Levein believing that the 25-year-old has the ability on the ball needed to function in that role.
Therefore, the £3.1k-per-week tank is the perfect replacement for Goldson at Rangers, so Van Bronckhorst does not need to worry about dipping into the transfer market to bolster the right centre-back position.