Following Rangers‘ remarkable second-leg turnaround at Ibrox against Union Saint-Gilloise in midweek, the Gers’ next Champions League assignment will see them take on Dutch outfit PSV Eindhoven to decide who will secure a berth in this season’s group stage.
That crucial clash will see the Ibrox outfit come up against a familiar figure in the form of highly-rated midfielder, Joey Veerman, with the 23-year-old having previously been linked with a move to the Old Firm giants.
Reports last summer suggested that the Gers – then managed by current Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard – were eyeing a £7m deal to prise the young Dutchman from Heerenveen, with the Liverpool legend keen to strengthen his midfield ranks.
Alas, no move came to fruition with the player himself admitting – amid interest from Serie A – that he had been priced out of an exit due to his former club’s sizeable asking price, with Rangers ultimately ending that window with the likes of Juninho Bacuna and Nmandi Ofoborh in the door instead, albeit as well as the impressive John Lundstram.
As it proved, that reported figure has proven something of a bargain such has been the 6 foot 1 ace’s form of late since his January move to his current side, with Giovanni van Bronckhorst no doubt ruing the failure of his predecessor.
While it is still early days in his spell in Eindhoven, Veerman has already proven himself a key figure in the Eredivisie side’s set-up, with former Ibrox legend Ronald de Boer insisting that he will be a player to watch out for when the two sides meet on Tuesday:
“For me, Gakpo, Sangare and Veerman are PSV’s most important players, Joey in particular. He is very influential in midfield, he makes the attack fluid. Most of the time attacks start with him.
“Veerman has the patience to play the ball between the opposition midfield and the defence or behind the opposition defence.”
That claim is rubberstamped by his form in the early weeks of the new season, as he provided an assist in the Dutch Super Cup triumph for Ruud van Nistelrooy’s side against rivals Ajax, while he also scored in both legs of their recent third-round qualifying triumph over AS Monaco.
Dubbed an “absolute beast” by one source for his display in the second leg, in particular, the now £12.6m-rated gem could prove a deciding factor in how the upcoming play-off tie pans out, with Van Bronckhorst’s men no doubt needing to pay him close attention.
His impact was also evident last term as he scored seven goals and provided 11 assists in 33 league games for both Heerenveen and PSV, with the former Netherlands U19 international bagging 24 goal contributions in total across all competitions.
That haul was only bettered by James Tavernier (35) and Alfredo Morelos (27) among the Rangers squad in the 2021/22 season, with Veerman seemingly a player who would have added undeniable quality to the current ranks.
As it is, he will simply be another foe to try and vanquish next week, with supporters hoping that Gerrard’s failure won’t cost them Champions League progression, should the former target steal the show.