Having ceded their Scottish Premiership crown to their Old Firm rivals last term, Rangers are seemingly plotting ways to hit back next season, with their summer transfer activity set to prove vital if the Ibrox side are to return to the summit.
At present, however, much of the focus has been on outgoings for Giovanni van Bronckhorst and co, with one notable departure thus far having been that of striker Cedric Itten, with the Switzerland ace having joined BSC Young Boys on a permanent deal.
His exit – as well as the contract uncertainty surrounding talisman Alfredo Morelos – has left manager van Bronckhorst desperately short of options in attack, with additional centre-forward reinforcements needed before the start of next season.
One figure who has emerged as a potential solution to that striking problem is Sunderland hotshot Ross Stewart, with Northern Echo journalist Scott Wilson revealing that the 25-year-old is the Gers’ “number one option” to replace Morelos, should the Colombian depart.
The belief is that the recent League One play-off final winners will attempt to offer the Scotsman a new deal to stay at the Stadium of Light, although he could no doubt be tempted by the prospect of European football at Ibrox, with the player potentially available for around £5m.
The Irvine-born marksman has emerged as a top target following his sparkling form for Alex Neil’s side in the 2021/22 campaign, with the former Ross County man – who moved south of the border in January 2021 – having netted 26 goals and provided three assists in 49 appearances.
That stunning form has also caught the attention of national team boss Steve Clarke, with the £450k-rated forward handed his first international call-up in March, before making his debut in the recent Nations League win over Armenia.
Undoubtedly a player on the up, it is no real surprise that he has caught the eye of those back in Glasgow, with the hope being that he can replicate the success of another Scot who traded the Black Cats for Rangers – Ally McCoist.
The much-loved pundit/commentator had endured a disappointing two-year stint with the northeast side before joining the Old Firm giants in 1983, going on to become a certified club legend after scoring a mammoth 355 goals in 581 games over the next 15 years, with that tally unsurprisingly a club record.
A winner of ten league titles during his time with the club – playing his part in that remarkable nine-in-a-row sequence in the late 80’s and early 90’s – there have been few players who have enjoyed better times in the famous blue jersey.
Such feats are undoubtedly too great to replicate, although Stewart has shown signs in the most recent campaign that he can be a prolific presence in front of goal, with his “superb” form – as per the aforementioned Wilson – seemingly warranting all the fuss, while his prior knowledge of the SPL could also prove useful.
Who knows, he could be the next McCoist in the making…