This is far from a summer of discontent at Ibrox. The Europa League final defeat has left scars that may never heal, but on that journey to Seville, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side created memories that will last a lifetime. They may not have come away with silverware, but this Rangers outfit proved that on their night, they were a match for the best in Europe.
Second place in the league will never be acceptable in Glasgow, but the Gers did scoop a trophy in the form of the Scottish Cup. That final at Hampden ended with tears and an emotional outpouring from the fans to the players, but there’s one trophy they desperately want to win back next term. The Scottish Premiership. Here’s five points of order for Van Bronckhorst to address this summer in order to restore SPFL supremacy.
Keep Calvin Bassey
The transfer speculation surrounding Rangers’ imperious center-back continues to gather pace, but just twelve months ago he was a relative unknown. His progression to stardom this term has been astonishing and now the former Leicester youngster is one of the standout young defenders in Europe.
Former boss Steven Gerrard is interested, as are Borussia Dortmund, so if a deal materializes over the next few months, Rangers will be able to ask for at least £ 20m. However, that value is unlikely to go down given he is only 22, and if they want to reclaim the league title, he will be key to their success. One more year of Bassey could be beneficial for all parties.
Feed off the feel-good factor
That European run has made Rangers an incredibly attractive proposition for players. The Ibrox atmosphere stole the headlines on multiple occasions and now the Scottish Premiership is a genuine hotbed for talent. But it’s not just about attracting new talent.
Connor Goldson has agreed a new four-year deal and Steven Davis has extended his stay by a year, both not wanting to leave this club that almost experienced the ultimate high. There’s a feel-good factor around Rangers right now, and it means they should be able to make some eye-catching moves in the transfer market.
Solve the Morelos dilemma
Will he? Won’t he? Morelos has been a smash hit since arriving in 2017, but with just a year left on his current deal, this summer will be crucial for Rangers, one way or another. 19 goals in 42 games in all competitions last term does not make Morelos injury prone, but he could have been the difference maker in the Europa League final.
Instead he was out injured, and this summer is now the last chance to cash in on their Colombian striker. It still seems likely that he will leave, which could be a sensible move as Rangers look to enter a new era.
Early business ahead of marathon
This is one thing that Van Bronckhorst already looks to have got right. John Souttar’s early arrival this window could breathe new life into their defense, new contracts have been handed out and the likes of Cedric Itten have left the club. This turnover of players needs to happen as quickly as possible, so that by pre-season, Rangers are raring to go.
The combination of the third qualifying round of the Champions League and the Qatar World Cup means the season will be starting incredibly early, and this could be an extremely arduous campaign for the side. Squad depth could be more important than ever.
Find Old Firm form
Rangers have lost just three league games over the past two seasons. Unfortunately two of those have come against Celtic and in essence, those two defeats cost them the title last season. The margin for error is so small between these two teams in the Scottish Premiership that the Old Firms take on major significance.
Unfortunately for Van Bronckhorst, late in the season, Ange Postecoglou got the better of him to deliver the title to Celtic Park. Those defeats were incredibly painful and as always, these three fixtures will likely decide the fate of the title.