How Rangers may have just completed their best piece of business in the summer transfer window
In unexpectedly tying down the services of the big English central defender for another four years, Rangers may just have carried out the most significant transaction they will make in what is Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s first summer transfer window.
Even van Bronckhorst himself was among those who suspected Goldson’s future was more than likely to lie elsewhere as his previous contract ran down at the end of the season, the Dutch coach observing that there was only ‘a small chance’ the 29-year-old would remain at the heart of his back four when the 2022-23 campaign got underway.
But instead of Goldson having said his farewell in the Scottish Cup final victory over Hearts at Hampden on May 21, he will be reporting back for pre-season training on June 27 in what is a hugely significant boost to van Bronckhorst’s hopes of building a sustained period of trophy-gathering on the back of his first six months as Gerrard’s successor.
Adequately replacing Goldson would have been a major challenge for van Bronckhorst and his club’s scouting and recruitment department. The terms of the new contract announced on Wednesday will have further enhanced Goldson’s status as one of the best-paid players at Rangers and that can only be regarded as a wise investment.
Had Rangers needed to go into the marketplace to source another central defender with Goldson’s attributes, they would have been looking at a transfer fee in the region of £8 million.
However the data analysts at football clubs reach their conclusions, Goldson’s statistics over the past four years at Rangers underline just how valuable he has become to the Ibrox cause.
Any question marks over his fitness, having played just 16 games for Brighton in the two seasons prior to his move to Glasgow after missing 10 months of action because of a heart defect which required preventative surgery, have long since been answered by the remarkable robustness and reliability of Goldson.
He has missed just 12 of the 235 games Rangers have played in the last four seasons. In the 2020-21 campaign, when Gerrard’s team went undefeated in winning the club’s first top flight title in a decade, Goldson was the only ever-present.
Described by Gerrard at various points as ‘an absolute mountain’, ‘a proper leader’ and ‘a warrior’, Goldson has overcome the early scepticism expressed by some Rangers fans over his defensive solidity.
In the 223 games he has played for Rangers so far, Goldson has contributed to 110 clean sheets while also popping up with 20 goals as a more than handy asset at attacking set-pieces. In tandem with captain James Tavernier, he has been the bedrock of four consecutive group stage campaigns in the Europa League which culminated in the run to last month’s final in Seville.
With his 30th birthday approaching in December, no-one could have begrudged Goldson if he had opted to return to England at this stage of his career. But Rangers have been good for him and can now look forward to him continuing to reward them in kind with his drive and consistency.
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