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Rangers target Martin Skrtel certainly has a patchy relationship with Brendan Rodgers

Steven Gerrard wants to bring the Slovakian to Ibrox, where he would face off with former boss in Glasgow.

Mathew Coull

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It looks as though new Rangers boss Steven Gerrard is already looking at some old pals of his to help improve the playing staff at Ibrox. One name who has been mentioned as potential arrival on more than one occasion this week is centre-back Martin Skrtel.

The Slovakian is said to be a target for Rangers, with the Scottish sun suggesting the £4 million target joins Jermain Defoe and Lucas Leiva in an ambitious transfer wishlist from the Liverpool legend.

Obviously, Rangers fans would love to see all three of these Premier League heroes at Ibrox but even just the arrival of Skrtel would be a huge boost. The bullish defender would go a long way toward improving the defence at Rangers – which has been weak most of the current campaign.

(during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Queens Park Rangers at Anfield on May 2, 2015 in Liverpool, England.

Of course, if Skrtel were to arrive, he would be going up against his former boss in Glasgow. In fact, Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers and Skrtel have something of a patchy relationship.

In 2013 the Slovakian was quite suddenly dropped by Liverpool, barely getting a kick in the second half of the season. It looked like he was on his way out and he publicly took aim at Rodgers. As quoted by The Telegraph he stated:

“He gave me some explanation (why he was dropped), but it’s hard to tell if it was the true reason he gave me. I don’t think it was and think there is something else behind it…

It all happened after our match with Manchester United in the middle of January,” he said. “We lost 2-1 but I think that particularly in the second half we played very well. Moreover, a lot of sources gave me a good rating. But he [Rodgers] told me we had lost the organisation of play in the defensive line and that this would be the reason why I would not play in the following matches.

“I don’t know which fixtures he spoke about because we had kept a clean sheet twice in a row and won both matches.”

Celtic boss Rodgers is certainly not a popular man at Ibrox, so such views will no doubt be welcomed by the Rangers fans.

(Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)

Problem is, Skrtel changed his tune later on. He fought his way back into the reckoning under Rodgers at Liverpool. The following season was perhaps his best yet in a Liverpool shirt. When asked about Rodgers last year, when Slovakia took on Scotland, he had this to say:

“Brendan is a great manager. I played with him for two to three seasons at Liverpool. I am not surprised he is doing a great job there,” as quoted by The Daily Record (printed edition; 7th October – page 61).

Rangers fans will certainly not disagree that Rodgers has done a great job at their bitter Old Firm rivals.

But if Skrtel arrives the hope will be that the Slovakian puts all past sentiment for his former boss way in the back of his mind.

They want to see the ruthless and brutal Skrtel who first caught the eye in the Premier League at Anfield. If they can get that, then Rangers are on to a winner and Rodgers may wish he was not having so many Glasgow reunions.

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Rangers

Martin Skrtel wage issues reveal the difficulty of the Rangers rebuild

Max Cohen

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Martin Skrtel
Photo: Getty Images

In the weeks following Steven Gerrard’s appointment as Rangers manager, optimism about an anticipated wave of big-name signings filled the club.

One such high-profile target was Gerrard’s former teammate Martin Skrtel, an experienced and fearsome centre-back who was linked with a move to Ibrox.

Yet, according to recent reports in The Guardian, wage issues seem set to scupper the Slovakian’s move to Glasgow, revealing the difficulty of reshaping Rangers while operating on a limited budget.

Skrtel’s agent Karol Csonto was quoted in the Guardian claiming the Scottish club simply did not have enough money to satisfy the defender’s exorbitant Fenerbahce wages.

“When there is only a small difference then you can find a solution,” Csonto said. “But in this case, the salary of the player in Turkey is four or five times more than what Rangers could offer That makes it impossible.”

(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

These comments are certainly the sign of a money-hungry agent (surely Skrtel is willing to take a wage-cut to play at such a historic and well-regarded club), but also reflect the harsh reality of modern football.

Clubs such as Fenerbahce have the luxury to throw around ridiculous sums of money to attract aging stars like Skrtel, while Rangers do not have such funds and are conscious of operating with Financial Fair Play guidelines.

In this case, monetary restrictions look set to derail the transfer of the former Liverpool player, which would have come as a welcome addition of top-class European experience to the Rangers backline.

The unfortunate transfer saga comes as an uncomfortable lesson for Rangers supporters expecting an immediate turnaround under Gerrard, as the club cannot simply buy every single target it admires.

Progress will be more incremental under the Liverpudlian, and a focus on younger starlets Gerrard managed while at the Liverpool academy may prove more realistic targets than big names such as Skrtel who carry bloated contracts and greedy agents.

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Rangers

Steven Gerrard tempting Lucas Leiva to Rangers would be huge coup

The Brazilian midfielder is being linked with a move to Glasgow for a second summer.

Josh Kerr

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Lucas Leiva
Photo: Getty Images

When Steven Gerrard was unveiled as the new Rangers boss over a fortnight ago, fans finally believed they may have found the man to rekindle the ambition and hunger that had been lost at the club in recent years.

The former Liverpool legend has already been linked with brining a number of high profile names to Ibrox and his former teammate Lucas Leiva is the latest being linked with a move to Glasgow.

According to the Scottish Sun, Gerrard is considering making a move for the Brazilian midfielder, who he played alongside across a spell of eight years at Liverpool.

Reports also confirm that Leiva is keen on the idea of being reunited with his former captain, and considering his vast Premier League experience, the midfielder would likely prove a strong addition for the Gers.

(Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Despite Lazio being reluctant to sell their player, the 31-year-old needs to make the most of his final years in football and the chance of being part of Gerrard’s revolution in Scotland could just be enough to convince him to leave Serie A.

The former Liverpool man made 346 appearances for the Merseyside outfit and quickly became a fan favourite for the club. He also has 24 caps for Brazil to his name and, despite not being proven in front of goal, he still has enough in the tank to be an effective asset in Scotland.

Should Rangers manage to sign Leiva, it would be a huge statement.

Luring a proven player away from Serie A would be surprising enough, but considering Brendan Rodgers had hoped to bring him to Celtic just a year ago, it would show just how big an impact Gerrard is already having on the balance of power between the two Glasgow sides.

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Nottingham Forest

Difficult Rangers spell puts Jason Cummings’ Nottingham Forest future in doubt

The 22-year-old made just nine starts at Ibrox.

Josh Kerr

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Jason Cummings
Photo: Getty Images

Jason Cummings’ loan move from Nottingham Forest has come to an end, with the striker returning to his parent club from Rangers. However, his time at Ibrox has failed to give supporters a reason to demand he is kept in Glasgow on a permanent deal.

According to the Scottish Sun, Forest boss Aitor Karanka believes Cummings no longer has a future at the club due to his lack of game time in Scotland. He made just nine starts in all for the Gers, coming off the bench on a further nine occasions in a disappointing loan spell.

The 22-year-old striker arrived at Ibrox with lofty expectations, but he failed to establish himself as a regular in the Gers’ first team and spent more time on the sidelines than he did on the pitch.

The Scotland international netted six goals in total but, despite showing signs of his promising talent, he didn’t demonstrate why new manager Steven Gerrard should acquire his services on a full-time basis.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Cummings was brilliant for Scottish Premier League outfit Hibernian before his move to Forest in the summer of 2017, for a fee, according to the Nottingham Post, to be in the region of £1 million.

Gerrard was brought in to improve on the quality already at the club and, considering the Liverpool legend’s name and reputation, he will feel he can bring in better players than Cummings.

This must now leave the striker worrying about his future with his parent club, who could quite conceivably be tempted to part company with a player who has only scored once in 14 appearances for the two-time European Cup winners.

Once one of Scotland’s most promising strikers, Cummings is facing exile from both of his represented clubs and will be seriously worried as to what the future holds.

Despite struggling to make an impact for the Gers, the two-time Scotland international possesses undeniable talent. If Rangers feel he hasn’t justified a permanent deal, another loan move could bring the best out of the once-promising striker.

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