Rangers fans are currently loving life with new manager Steven Gerrard in charge. Under his management, the Ibrox outfit have gone from the first round of Europa League qualifiers all the way to the group stage of the competition and currently sit level on points at the top of the table with bitter rivals Celtic, having beaten them last week for the first time since 2016.
Gerrard’s first summer in charge in Glasgow was a busy one, with the SPFL outfit bringing in 13 new recruits from destinations across Europe, such as England, France and Croatia. The 38-year-old’s team seem to be gelling well at the moment, but it looks like the club will use the January transfer window as an opportunity to make some tweaks to the squads.
Jermain Defoe Set to Join Rangers on Loan
New Striker Needed
As the current transfer window rolled along during new year, Rangers have got straight into business in bringing new players, with the re-signing of Steven Davis from Southampton expected to be announced soon. They have also been in need of a new striker. Whilst clinical first-choice forward Alfredo Morelos sits on 20 goals so far this campaign, second choice Kyle Lafferty hasn’t exactly had the impact fans hoped for.
Lafferty joined in August of last year after a prolific season with Edinburgh side Hearts. The Northern Irishman had already spent four years in Royal Blue earlier on his career and isn’t having the easiest time in his second spell. He has found goal just four times for the Teddy Bears, but it is fair to argue that he hasn’t been given the game time to do much better, goalscoring wise. With third choice Umar Sadiq having had his loan spell terminated, the club have opted to search for a striker this window.
The Gers have been rumoured with a number of strikers in the lead up to the current transfer window, including Liverpool’s Dominic Solanke and Gillingham’s Tom Eaves, however, whether true or not, to begin with, all these rumours seem to more or less fall through. However, it looks like Rangers have finally found their man in 36-year-old England legend Jermain Defoe.
According to Sky Sports, the deal is done, and it should be announced in a short period of time. The source states that Defoe will join on an 18-month loan deal from parent club Bournemouth, who have the option to recall their striker on two occasions; the coming summer and January of next year.
Defoe is best known for his time at Tottenham. He has had three spells in North London, his best being his second from 2009-2014. After that, he spent a year with Canadian side Toronto and would remain at Spurs on loan for another month before beginning playing abroad.
Following a return to England from across the Atlantic, Defoe was a rare spark of light in a poor Sunderland side, scoring 37 in his two-and-a-half years on Wearside. He departed the Black Cats upon their relegation from the Premier League, joining AFC Bournemouth in 2017 and was expected to keep his form going. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. In a year-and-a-half with the Cherries, he has scored just four goals. Now he looks to improve that stat north of the border under the coaching of his former England teammate.
Can Defoe Help the Gers?
There is clearly a big difference between the standard of football in Scotland and England, and with Defoe having been used to the quality of the Premier League his whole career, you would expect he would easily do well at his new club. You could be wrong there, though. Yes, there is a clear difference in quality, but the SPFL is a very physical and tough league. It is harsh and sees talented players who come to Scotland fail to live up to their hype. It has also seen some of the smaller sides cause upsets and steal points from the Old Firm clubs. Kilmarnock, for example, sit just one point off Rangers and Celtic at the top and have managed to take points off both, as well as Livingston, Motherwell and Hibernian.
However, Defoe has played at some of the highest levels a player can reach, including the World Cup finals, and with his experience, he could really be a success in Scotland. He could also turn out as a great mentor at the training ground, having played with some of the game’s greats – Frank Lampard, Gareth Bale and Rio Ferdinand just to name a few.
Overall, time will tell whether this transfer could prove to be a success. It could prove whether Defoe has still got it and deserves another shot in England’s top flight, or if he is simply becoming too old to find the form he once boasted. Rangers return to action on the 18th January in the Scottish Cup versus Cowdenbeath and take on Kilmarnock in the league on the 23rd.