Rangers: Grading the Ibrox side's summer transfer business

Kyle Lafferty was one of 15 players signed by Rangers in the summer.
Kyle Lafferty was one of 15 players signed by Rangers in the summer.

Carlos Pena, Eduardo Herrera, Fabio Cardoso. Dalcio. A mere mention of any or all of these players are enough to send shivers down the spine of most Rangers fans.

They were four key signings under Pedro Caixinha in the summer of 2017 but it was clear, not long after the Portuguese had been sacked and well before the end of the season, that they would not feature in the long-term plans of the club.

When Steven Gerrard was announced as the new boss in May work was underway improving the squad so it was both ready to hit the ground running come the start of the season and capable of closing the gap to Celtic.

Revolution rather than evolution was a necessity. Following the departure of Mark Warburton, the failure of Caixinha and the caretakers spells of Graeme Murty and Jimmy Nicholl, common sense and direction were two qualities required.

The Rangers board can't be criticised for failing to back Gerrard. Fifteen players arrived, five of which were on loan.

There was a modicum of balance to it as well. Experienced internationals, players who knew the Scottish game and individuals who could be considered an investment while making an instant impact.

The defence needed reshaping and outright improvement. Individually and collectively. Allan McGregor has been the best goalkeeper in the division, while Connor Goldson looks a snip at £3million. Comfortable and assured on the ball, he combines those attributes with a physicality and power.

Nikola Katic, Joe Worrall and Jon Flanagan have all had their moments, good and bad, while Borna Barisic is the left-back the club have needed since Lee Wallace dropped out of the first-team reckoning at the start of last season with an injury.

As well as a solid defence, Gerrard recognised the need for a robust midfield. Scott Arfield has added directness and goals from midfield and Lassana Coulibaly has won fans over with his no-nonsense style, his combativeness and desire.

Ovie Ejaria has split opinion. To some he doesn't he's too inconsistent, too passive or doesn't serve a purpose. To others he is a slick midfield operator. Ryan Kent has won more admirers for his trickiness and dribbling, done at pace. A more bombastic individual than former winger Barrie McKay.

What the team has lacked in midfield is that creative force. Rangers continue to be a bit too predictable in away games, feeding the ball wide and getting crosses in the ball or playing into Alfredo Morelos. There is not the player who can provide direction in the final third.

The Colombian forward has arguably been the team's best, despite his indiscretions. But he is relied upon too much. Umar Sadiq has been nothing more than a flop, while Rangers fans will have expected more from Kyle Lafferty.

It has left Rangers slightly short in the striking department.

Conclusion - B

The summer recruitment was a success. When you consider how much was required, both in terms of positions that needed filled in the starting XI and further depth, the club did well.

There were few flops but with the number of players brought in the team have still been caught short in one or two positions.

Rangers have been given a new spine and platform to build on.