Why Rangers must stay away from signing Gareth McAuley
Steven Gerrard has been quite busy rebuilding his Rangers side. Seven new players, including Jon Flanagan and Scott Arfield, have arrived while nine have left. And now that Gareth McAuley has been released by WBA, reports suggest he might move to Ibrox this summer.
Despite his age, the 38-year-old still has time left on the clock. He will offer some much-needed stability, experience and leadership qualities for Gerrard and his side. The Northern Irishman is excellent in the air and is also a huge threat for opposition defenders from set-pieces.
Rangers’ need for defensive reinforcements is clear. Despite finishing the season as the Scottish Premiership’s most prolific attack, they conceded a staggering 50 league goals. That was the worst defensive record in the top-six and is something the Gers need to work on.
However, it remains questionable as to whether McAuley is the right man for the Light Blues. They already have a veteran centre-back in Bruno Alves, who is 36 years of age. Despite his class and dedication, it’s obvious that McAuley would be a short-term solution.
The Scottish Premiership might not be the most demanding or gruelling league in the world, but either way, you can’t fight nature. And when a player is almost in their 40s, it’s obvious they won’t be able to play for too long. Very few players like Ryan Giggs, Totti and Buffon managed to stay at the top until the end of their careers.
That said, it will be better for Rangers to look at younger players to improve their defence. They have already brought in Nikola Katic and Connor Goldson, which is certainly a step in the right direction.
Due to his advancing age, however, McAuley should be signed only as a last resort. Regardless, he would have to be replaced in 12 months’ time and the Gers would be back to square one. Hence, they must do the smart thing and look for options elsewhere.