Rangers’ hopes of signing Joseph Okumu this summer have taken a blow after their Old Firm rivals entered the race to sign him, with it being suggested that Steven Gerrard’s side will have to win a bidding war with other interested clubs if he wants to bring the centre-back to Ibrox ahead of next season.
Rangers were first linked with the Elfsborg defender by Football Insider back in March, with that report suggesting that the Bears were preparing for the potential departures of centre-backs Filip Helander and George Edmundson.
Whilst rumours linking both of those defenders with an Ibrox exit have died down in recent months, it seems as if Okumu is still on Gerrard’s shortlist ahead of the summer, although they will face plenty of competition to bring him in.
Swedish news outlet Aftonbladet have claimed that five clubs including Rangers, Celtic, Lorient, Reims and Gent have all already made bids for the Kenyan defender, who is expected to cost around 40 million krona (£3.4m).
It is no surprise that Okumu is so heavily in demand, as he has impressed since making the move to Sweden. Elfsborg sporting director Stefan Andreasson full of praise for him earlier in the season, saying: “Okumu has been talked about a lot since he came to us.
“We understood that this was a very good player, then he showed maybe the whole of Sweden last year, and also Europe. It is clear that Okumu is one of the best.
“I have said it once before, that he is the best centre-back that has ever been in the Allsvenskan – you can say that sometimes.
“He is destined to have a career outside Scandinavia, which is positive. We must enjoy him as long as he’s here.”
When Rangers were first linked by Football Insider, there was no mention of any interest from Celtic in that report, so it will surely frustrate Gers fans that their fierce Glasgow rivals have now seemingly entered the race to sign him shortly before the transfer window’s opening.
Whilst the Hoops shouldn’t pose as much of a threat after their disappointing season, their presence could force Rangers into paying over the odds to sign Okumu and perhaps mean that they will need to offer him more in wages than originally anticipated.
However, the Kenya international appears to have a huge amount of potential, so hopefully Ross Wilson will be able to win the race to sign him this summer.