Opinion: Rangers should be offering 29-year-old a contract, not signing his replacement
Rangers look set to allow Connor Goldson to run down his deal, consequently losing out on a transfer fee in January.
Goldson’s contract expires in the summer, and he is free to negotiate a pre-contract deal with other clubs. He has been linked with a move to Nottingham Forest or West Brom.
Rangers could have ‘cashed in’ this month and accepted a nominal fee as opposed to Goldson leaving on a free in the summer. But, with little more than a week remaining in the window, it now seems inevitable he will stay past January.
It is a welcome boost for fans as Rangers simply can’t allow him to leave in January, even if they find a replacement. The season is far too important, with a league title and subsequent Champions League qualification at stake. The gamble is too much, and fans would rather let him leave for free than see Rangers struggle the next six months without him.
Rangers have until the summer to reach an agreement with Goldson, and hopefully the incentive of playing Champions League football is enough to keep him. Connor claims he hasn’t spoken to his agent or the club about a new deal.
Goldson at Rangers
Goldson joined Rangers from Brighton for £3m in 2018, signing a four-year deal. He has been a pivotal part of the Rangers squad in the three seasons he has been at Ibrox.
Goldson was an integral player in the 55th title-winning campaign last season, playing every minute. Under his guidance at the back, the team conceded just 13 goals in 38 league games.
Souttar is not a replacement; Doekhi more likely
Rangers announced the pre-contract signing of John Souttar from Hearts last week. Reports suggest the move may be accelerated, with Souttar heading to Ibrox by the end of the month. Souttar is a good player, although his career has been plagued by injuries.
He is a possible partner to Connor, not a replacement. Ability-wise he isn’t as good as Goldson, and Rangers simply can’t replace a man who barely misses a minute with a player with Souttar’s injury history. It is more likely Souttar would be third-choice centre-back.
If Rangers are looking for a replacement for Goldson, the reported interest in Danilho Doekhi sounds more promising. The Vitesse captain, 23, is also out of contract in the summer and is free to negotiate terms with other clubs.
Of course, Rangers may agree a deal with Doekhi to come in the summer to replace an outgoing Goldson. However, the reports suggest Vitesse would accept a £2m offer in January to secure his services early.
Rangers have money in the bank from the sale of Nathan Patterson to Everton and it may be a shrewd bit of business to acquire Doekhi now.
Could Goldson be persuaded to stay and form a partnership with Doekhi? That would be the dream scenario from a Rangers fan’s perspective.
Rangers and Goldson have been good for each other
Goldson has provided stability at the back for Rangers. He was diagnosed with a heart condition in 2017, and Goldson’s career appeared to be over before it had really begun. He played just three times in the Premier League for Brighton and found himself on the fringes.
Goldson made the move to Rangers and played almost every minute of every game under Gerrard. His career has hit the ceiling – he won’t play for a bigger club than Rangers in his career. He has experienced European football, playing sides such as Lyon, Porto, Benfica, and Bayer Leverkusen.
Goldson will never play Champions League football if he leaves Rangers. It is also highly unlikely he will ever receive a call-up to the England national team. However, Connor dreams of playing in the Premier League and Rangers may have to respect his wishes.
It must be remembered Rangers took a chance on Connor Goldson. It was a successful gamble and he will forever be remembered for his role in the invincible season of 20/21.
Of course, a move may see him earn more money and play against better players. He is 29 years old and this could be his last chance of a deal. Regardless, he could be lost in the shuffle again in the Premier League.
When he retires, he may look back and remember he played in the Premier League, but with no medals to show for it. If he stays at Rangers, he will remain a key player for the club. He would have the chance to further bolster his standing at the club and become one of Rangers’ greats.
Connor should look at Jermain Defoe and how he felt about the club. Defoe played down south for more than 20 years and only won a league cup. He came to Rangers and won a league title and has repeatedly said he wished he had moved earlier in his career.
If the two parties don’t come to an agreement with Goldson, they both lose something. Rangers lose a great servant and a nominal fee. Connor will lose the best club of his career and a chance to play in the Champions League.
In the end, Rangers and Goldson could both lose out on something good.
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