Why Rangers should complete a move for George Maluleka in January
According to South African publication Daily Sun, Rangers are weighing up a shock move for South African international midfielder George Maluleka, who currently plies his trade with heavyweights Kaizer Chiefs in his homeland.
The 30-year-old, who featured for Ajax Cape Town and Supersport United before completing a move to Kaizer Chiefs in 2014, is out of contract at his current club in the summer and he will be free to enter pre-contract negotiations with other clubs when the transfer window reopens in January.
Capped 5 times by South Africa at the senior international level, Maluleka has accumulated an impressive tally of 11 goals and 20 assists in 156 appearances for Kaizer Chiefs in all competitions so far.
The 30-year-old won the domestic title with Supersport United twice earlier in his career before repeating the same feat with Chiefs in the 2014-15 season.
Maluleka has never plied his trade outside of his homeland, but with Rangers keeping tabs on him ahead of the January window and his contract set to expire in the summer, the South African star could be set for a new chapter in his career.
A veteran of almost 300 career appearances for some of the most reputed clubs in his homeland, the central midfielder certainly has the CV to warrant a move to Europe, although his advancing years could be a bit of a concern for any potential suitor.
Meanwhile, Rangers have excelled on all fronts this season under the stewardship of Steven Gerrard following a summer of heavy investment that marked the arrival of as many as eleven new players at the club.
Having already booked their seats in the final of the Scottish League Cup, the Gers are currently on the verge of qualification to the knockout rounds of the UEFA Europa League while also going toe-to-toe with arch-rivals Celtic atop the Scottish Premiership standings.
To that end, things certainly seem to be heading in the right direction for Gerrard after a solid start to the season, however, it is well-documented that Rangers’ performances in the second half of the campaign are likely to decide their title credentials.
As evident from the report, Gerrard is going to look for some further reinforcements in the upcoming transfer window in a bid to add more depth to his ranks, with Goerge Maluleka the latest player to be linked with a move to Ibrox.
To put things into perspective, Rangers seem to have enough depth in the central midfield department for the time being but it won’t be a bad idea for the Ibrox giants to try and negotiate a cut-price deal to bring in Maluleka during the January window.
Conversely, they could also opt to take the route of a pre-contract if they so desire, given that Maluleka will have only six months left to run on his current contract at Kaizer Chiefs when the transfer window reopens in January.
Gerrard has used the pre-contract rule in the market to good effect over the course of his managerial stint at Rangers, bringing in the likes of Jake Hastie and Jordan Jones on free transfers from Motherwell and Kilmarnock, and signing George Maluleka, in the same manner, would be a coup.
With Steven Davis, Joe Aribo, Ryan Jack and Glen Kamara all competing for three midfield places in Gerrard’s preferred 4-3-3 system, Rangers seem to have just enough depth in their ranks to cope with the challenge of playing in different competitions parallelly.
However, with Leicester City loanee Andy King failing to make an impact, Andy Halliday’s contract set to expire next summer, Greg Docherty merely a peripheral figure in the squad and Premier League interest in Kamara’s services high ahead of the January window (h/t Daily Mail), Rangers could certainly do with some fresh faces in the middle of the park moving forward.
With that in mind, an experienced head like George Maluleka could well be the player that they need to ensure adequate competition in the midfield. Notwithstanding the fact that bringing in a 30-year-old with no previous experience of playing in Europe might be a big risk, acquiring the South African’s services for free won’t necessarily come back to haunt them.
More Rangers News
- Why Rangers should sign Jermain Defoe permanently from Bournemouth
- Why Rangers should prioritise a new deal for Nathan Patterson
- Why Lewis Ferguson would be a fantastic signing for Rangers
An international footballer with plenty of experience under his belt, Maluleka could well prove to be a massive bargain for the Gers if he manages to adapt to the hustle and bustle of the Scottish game. The 30-year-old is certainly worth a punt for Rangers on a free transfer.