Why Rangers decided to cut Cedric Itten's Greuther Furth loan deal short - and the plan for him now

He may have been out of sight but Cedric Itten was still very much in the mind of Giovanni van Bronckhorst when he became Rangers manager.

Cedric Itten has returned to Rangers after manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst exercised the recall clause in his loan deal at German club Greuther Furth. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Striker Itten was deemed surplus to requirements at the start of the season by van Bronckhorst’s predecessor Steven Gerrard who shipped him out on a season-long loan to German club Greuther Furth.

Itten made just seven starting appearances for the Bundesliga strugglers, scoring twice, although his form was good enough to earn him a recall to the Swiss international squad.

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The 25-year-old clearly has an admirer in van Bronckhorst who has exercised a recall clause to bring him back to the Scottish champions this month.

Itten in action for Greuther Furth.

Itten is back in the Rangers squad for the resumption of their Premiership title defence at Aberdeen on Tuesday night and van Bronckhorst is delighted to have the 6ft 2ins target man at his disposal.

“When I came in, I also assessed the players who were on loan,” said van Bronckhorst. “For me, when you go on loan it has to be beneficial for both - for the player’s development but also for the club.

“So it was obvious for me that when Cedric wasn’t playing a lot in Germany, I’d rather have him with me in this squad instead of him being in Germany not even playing.

“We had a Zoom meeting with Cedric and he was very open in the discussions and felt the same way. So I’m really happy he is back now and it gives me more options up front. “Because he is a different type to the players we have. Sometimes you need a striker with his qualities, so in that way I’m more flexible up front with the type of players I have.”

Rangers manager Giovann van Bronckhorst is relishing his team's return to action after the winter break. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

While Itten, a £2.7 million signing from St Gallen in the summer of 2020, now has a fresh opportunity to ignite his Rangers career, the future of Croatian central defender Nikola Katic at the Ibrox club remains uncertain.

Katic is on a season-long loan at Hajduk Split back in his homeland, having missed the whole of Rangers’ 2020-21 campaign because of a serious knee injury.

“He’s playing a lot now, that’s the main thing you want to have when players go on loan,” said van Bronckhorst. “For us, it was never a possibility to bring him back so hopefully he will continue to develop himself as a player. At the end of the season, we will discuss with the club how our squad will be for the next season.”

Having won his first seven league games in charge after replacing Gerrard in November, van Bronckhorst feels the winter break has provided him with the opportunity to reinforce the changes he has sought to make on Rangers’ playing style.

“It’s been very beneficial,” he added. “It was good to give the players a rest. Everyone came back fresh on January 5. So we have had almost two weeks to prepare ourselves for the second half of the season.

“We also had more time to work with the players on the pitch and also with team meetings. So it was very good to get a little bit more in-depth on the way we want to play, the things we have to improve and the things we have done really well so far.”

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