After four years in the doldrums of Scottish football and three promotions in four years, Rangers will finally return to the top flight in Scotland this season.
Rangers manager Mark Warburton has so far signed five players in this transfer window as he looks to build a side capable of competing with a Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic side that have dominated Scottish football in recent years and won five league titles in a row.
The Gers boss added his sixth recruit on Thursday, with confirmation that ex-Spurs and QPR midfielder Niko Kranjčar has signed sign a two-year contract.
“We are delighted to secure a player of Niko’s undoubted qualities and very much look forward to welcoming him to the club,” Warburton commented. “Such a signing shows our desire to achieve a positive balance between young, hungry players and the undoubted necessity of experience and maturity.
Kranjčar, a free agent following a spell with New York Cosmos, has 81 caps for Croatia and has shunned offers from the Far East and Middle East to opt to join Mark Warburton’s men.
The former Tottenham, Portsmouth and QPR player has great technical ability with the ball at his feet, and was an integral playmaker for then-Premier League side Portsmouth FC during the club’s FA Cup-winning 2007-08 campaign.
He spent six seasons in England – split between Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur – scoring 20 goals in 155 league appearances while playing under manager Harry Redknapp at both stops. The experienced midfielder is sure to be a solid addition to the Scottish Premiership.
Paying tribute to their former star, New York Cosmos COO Erik Stover said:”Any club is lucky to have a player and person like him.”
Meanwhile, with goalkeeper Cammy Bell leaving Rangers by mutual consent to join Dundee United, Warburton is also on the lookout for an experienced goalkeeper and provide competition for Wes Foderingham.
The Daily Record has reported that the club will also add Burnley goalkeeper Matt Gilks to their playing group.
Scotland international Gilks is ideal backup. Capped three times by Scotland, the former Blackpool keeper is available on a free transfer as his Burnley contract is set to expire. He would be the second signing Warburton has made from Burnley following the early acquisition of Joey Barton.
Warburton is fully aware that life will be much tougher this season and is expected to add more depth and quality to his squad, though the Englishman can no doubt be happy with his recruitment so far this summer.
Steven Parkhill, Pundit Arena