The transfer summer has been quite busy for new Rangers boss Steven Gerrard. The rookie manager has already acquired six new players in his mission to reshape his squad and return the glory days back at Ibrox.
All of the new lads require special attention and analysis, but let’s look more deeply into the qualities of Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic. The giant centre-backs are expected to form a solid partnership in the heart of the defence. But how do they compare to their Celtic counterparts?
A little back-story. Katic, who is just 21-year-old, has already been capped by Croatia, and many consider him as “the new Dejan Lovren”. Katic is very strong in challenges, excellent on the ground and even better in the air, according to Slaven’s sporting director Zvonimir Simunovic.
As with most central defenders, he has an excellent physique, standing at 6ft4 in. Many thought he might even make the World Cup squad, but with the likes of Lovren and Vedran Corluka, that’s no easy task.
Goldson is the more experienced of the two new centre-backs. The 25-year-old was signed from Brighton, where he didn’t get enough playing time.
In reality, heart issues prevented him from having a more central role for the Seagulls. He’s a strong player, who can read the game well. His passing ability is top notch.
Goldson and Katic are yet to play together but their potential partnership looks promising.
Looking at Celtic – Dedryck Boyata and Kristoffer Ajer seems to be the preferred centre-back pairing by Brendan Rodgers. Although there have been times when Jozo Simunovic was selected last season.
The former Croatia Under-21 international remains a very decent player though. He’s strong, smart and not afraid to get stuck in challenges.
Ajer is an interesting footballer, who can play both as a defender and as a midfielder. The Norwegian is only 20, but Rodgers seems to trust him.
Dedryck Boyata is probably the most well-known name of the three. The Belgium international is part of the Red Devils squad for the World Cup. It’s not surprising that Lazio are interested in his signature. The former Manchester City man has power and pace and is a great defender and a leader.
He can take responsibility, and even though he’s prone to errors, his presence in the Celtic team makes the fans and his teammates happy. Whether he’ll stay at Parkhead after the World Cup remains to be seen.
The truth is, both sets of supporters have the right to be happy with their current set of defenders. Goldson and Katic seem very capable of raising the bar and answering to the challenge set by Boyata, Ajer and Simunovic.