Rangers Opinion: Gers should hold on to Borna Barisic because he might still have a lot to offer
According to the Daily Record, Rangers left-back Borna Barisic is the subject of interest from French Ligue 1 club Dijon, with reports claiming that the 26-year-old Croatian international is unsure about his future at Ibrox.
The same report claims that Dijon have identified him as a replacement for Tunisian left-back Oussama Haddadi, who departed for Saudi Arabian club Al-Ettifaq earlier this summer.
Daily Record understands that Barisic is willing to listen to offers from other clubs following a disappointing debut season in Scotland, although he is still under contract at Ibrox until the summer of 2022. Gers boss Steven Gerrard is yet to make a call on his future but he might have to make up his mind soon enough.
Barisic, who made his move to Rangers from Croatian club Osijek for a fee of £2.2million last summer, played as the first-choice left-back in the earlier stages of this past campaign, with Gerrard praising his attitude and performances.
However, a string of knee and calf injuries in October and November hampered his progress, as the Croatian was forced to spend a lot of time on the sidelines and consequently miss some of the fixtures.
The 26-year-old recovered from those set-backs but he never really managed to re-establish himself as the first-choice, with Gerrard rotating between former Liverpool man Jon Flanagan and midfielder Andy Halliday for the left-back role.
Nevertheless, Barisic finished the season with 14 starts in the Scottish Premiership and a total of 23 appearances in all competitions, assisting 6 goals in the process. It is true that he didn’t quite hit top gear in an injury-stricken debut season at Ibrox but the 26-year-old did show glimpses of his talent on a number of occasions.
A full-fledged international for Croatia, Barisic arrived at Rangers last summer with high hopes and expectations, having registered 8 goals and 22 assists in 124 appearances for NK Osijek over the course of two different spells.
Although he apparently struggled to get to grips with the Scottish game at times, Gerrard is likely to understand that the left-back would probably have played a more significant role had it not been for those serious injuries.
Meanwhile, Rangers have already bagged several scalps in the transfer window this summer, with Gerrard using his knowledge of the market to bring in the likes of Filip Helander, Joe Aribo, Jordan Jones, Jake Hastie, George Edmundson, Sheyi Ojo and Greg Stewart.
As evident from those acquisitions, the Gers have largely focussed on strengthening their options out wide and at the heart of the defence. Gerrard has made his intentions very clear that he wants to transform last season’s promise into something meaningful and challenge Celtic for the domestic title.
However, Rangers are yet to spend a penny on full-backs this summer, despite the Gers currently facing a shortage of options on the left-hand side of the backline.
Long-standing left-back Lee Wallace left the club this summer to join EFL Championship side Queens Park Rangers and whilst Halliday and Flanagan are more than useful options in that position, one can get the feeling that Barisic would need to play a key role next season.
To put things into perspective, it is quite easy to conclude from Rangers’ signings this summer that they are not planning to move Barisic on after just a single season.
In fact, the Gers could be in serious trouble should the Croatian head for the exit door, given the lack of depth at left-back in Gerrard’s ranks.
The 26-year-old is very much in his prime years and he deserves another crack of the whip in the Scottish Premiership to prove his credentials.
Barisic might be short of confidence after a lacklustre debut season but he certainly doesn’t lack the quality, and Gerrard is likely to be well aware of what he brings to the squad.
As for the player, it is hard to seem him give up on his Ibrox dream so early and drop down to a relegation-contending club in the French top-flight, which certainly won’t be in the best interests of his career.
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Hence, it is highly unlikely that Rangers would opt to cash in on the Croatian international, unless, of course, Gerrard has a good enough replacement in the queue to fill in his role next season.