Why Rangers signing Gareth McAuley would be a shrewd piece of business
McAuley, 38, left West Brom after they were relegated from the Premier League last season, and has signed a deal at Ibrox until the end of the season.
Steven Gerrard had earlier confirmed that the deal would be concluded ‘in the coming days’. The defender becomes Rangers’ 15th summer signing.
Gerrard endured his first defeat as a Rangers manager, at the hands of his ex-boss Brendan Rodgers, whose Celtic side dominated the Old Firm Derby and deservedly won the bragging rights on Sunday. Prior to the defeat at Celtic, Gerrard had gone 12 games unbeaten, which augured well this season.
But after getting dominated for large parts of the game and eventually losing to traditional rivals, Rangers need a push to come up again. Perhaps that push could be given by the signing of Gareth McAuley.
Rangers already signed three new centre-backs this summer. Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic have forged a very promising partnership at the back while Joe Worrall has arrived on loan from Nottingham Forest on deadline day. So where does McAuley fit into the Rangers side?
Despite his age, McAuley still has a lot to offer and moreover, he has come in for free. The 38-year-old won’t be able to play every single match in a demanding league such as the Scottish Premiership but his signing would see him provide cover to Gerrard’s defence.
McAuley has gained bags of experience from playing in the Premier League. He spent the last seven seasons at the Hawthorns, making over 200 Premier League appearances for the club. While he managed just 12 appearances last term, there is no doubting he has the capability to do a decent job on a short-term basis.
The Northern Irishman would definitely bolster Rangers’ defensive department and would give the Gers some much-needed stability and reliability at the back. With just under 80 appearances for his country, McAuley would bring a wealth of experience to Ibrox, and could help the likes of Katic and Worrall develop further.
However, the 38-year-old Irishman’s game time would be limited, given the options at Gerrard’s disposal. A solid performer and a leader on and off the pitch, McAuley will add quality cover and provide an extra body at the back.
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Mounting a challenge to end bitter rivals Celtic’s dominance in Scotland will not be a walk in the park for Rangers but Gerrard has certainly taken all the steps in the right direction. And the decision to bring free agent McAuley to Ibrox is a shrewd piece of business.