Rangers rumours: Wilshere, Osayi-Samuel, Brahimi - what happened to the linked deals from last January window?

It’s the season of transfer speculation as the January window opening looms closer, and as it does, the chatter around potential comings and goings at clubs all around the country gets louder.

Rangers were linked with a variety of names in the 2020/21 winter transfer window.
Rangers were linked with a variety of names in the 2020/21 winter transfer window.

Rangers are no exception. Giovanni van Bronckhorst is just in the door and could be ready to make his mark on the squad he inherited from Steven Gerrard.

Plenty will be rumoured, linked, spoken about and even offered between now and January 31 – but how many will transpire? Last year Rangers brought in two players and agreed a deal for another as Steven Gerrard added to what would soon become a title-winning squad.

Jack Simpson and Scott Wright arrived while a deal was agreed for Nnmadi Ofoborh in the summer – but while those were the only concrete and publicly announced moves – they were not the only players linked.

Siriki Dembele of Peterborough United. (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

We looked back at last winter’s transfer talk that centred around arrivals at Ibrox and how the deals did – or in most cases didn’t – progress, and where they are now.

Bright Osayi-Samuel: Winger at Queens’ Park Rangers was touted for a move to Ibrox but eventually moved to Fenerbahce, though links have not died down. The Nigerian midfielder moved to Turkey in January just days after agreeing a pre-contract – a little like Scott Wright’s move from Aberdeen to Rangers. However, after 16 games in Istanbul further reports surfaced in the summer, again linking Rangers with the 23-year-old, who has played just five times this season.

Daniel Johnson: This rumour persisted with Rangers keen on the Jamaican central midfielder, having a £1.5m bid reportedly rejected in summer 2020 before Bongani Zungu filled the defensive midfield void. With a contract expiring Johnson was again suggested as a target months later before he and boss Alex Neil put the transfer talk to bed by agreeing a contract extension at Deepdale shortly before the transfer window closed.

Jack Wilshere: Quite the frenzy developed as this particular transfer rumour picked up a head of steam little over a year ago. Steven Gerrard’s former England team-mate was wthout a club and suggestion was he could come to Ibrox to make his way back into the game – either with training or a short-term deal. Some reports even suggested he was in ‘advanced talks’ before alternative moves to Italy and Bournemouth also became apparent and he eventually joined his former club on the south coast until the end of the season – but he’s been a free agent since.

Daniel Johnson of Preston North End. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Bilal Brahimi: Rangers were interested in signing Stade de Reims midfielder Billal Brahimi according to reports on the continent, but faced competition from Lens and VfB Stuttgart for the 20-year-old, once of Middlesbrough, who was on loan at Le Mans in the third tier at the time. However he moved to Ligue 1 side Angers in Spetember, signing a three-year deal.

Jesse Lingard: Rangers and Celtic were suggested as potential options after Ole Gunnar Solksjaer granted permission to leave Manchester United on a short-term deal. He eventually opted for West Ham and scored nine goals in 16 games and earned his place back towards the top end of the Old Trafford pecking order for this season. Uncertainty over his future persists though with Newcastle now said to be keen on the England international in this trading period – but a repeat of the rumour isn’t likely any time soon.

John Lundstram: Who says rumours are all hearsay nonsense? The Sheffield United midfielder had long been talked about as a Steven Gerrard target and eventually it came true in summer 2021 – however as far back as December 2020 football pundit Gabby Agbonlahor had let it slip that he ‘had heard a contract had already been signed’. Lundstram did eventually join Rangers with a deal announced in July.

Marijan Cabrara: Croatian youth left-back was open about the apparent interest in his services and named Rangers amongst the clubs chasing him, but despite eyeing a move to the top five league in Europe – he has swapped his homeland for Ferencvaros in Hungary on an initial loan and a permanent transfer lined up this summer.

Rangers were linked with a variety of names in the 2020/21 winter transfer window.

Siriki Dembele: A well-known name via his brother Karamokou at Celtic – the elder sibling was subject of rather public transfer talk from Peterborough last year with Posh director Barry Fry claiming the winger was being watched but wouldn’t be sold despite his contract expiring – then a £3m price tag was reportedly set. The 25-year-old is still at Weston Homes Stadium and his deal is up at the end of this season, and while not quite as loud as last year, rumours continue to mention Rangers among his suitors.

Thomas Robert: Airdrie made the headlines by signing the son of illustrious French winger Laurent Robert – and son Thomas caught the eye down Monklands way with Ian Murray revealing both sides of the Old Firm had joined the likes of Burnley on his trail. Robert trained briefly with Celtic but no deal was struck with then manager Neil Lennon and the Frenchman is now in Belgium with Royal Mouscron after a stint training with Salford City.

Fashion Sakala: Back in January Rangers were linked with the Zambian, who had hit 20 goals for Oostende in Belgium, and a pre-contract deal was suggested to be in the pipeline. Nothing happened in January – and several English clubs plus Anderleht were said to be interested at the time – but by the end of the season, Fashion Junior was signed on a pre-contract deal and the smiling striker soon won the hearts, and songbook, of the Rangers support.

Adam Reach: Left-sided midfielder was linked to Rangers and Celtic in the January window as his Sheffield Wednesday contract wound down, however he plumped for a switch to the Hawthorns in August and is now on the wing at West Brom, playing regularly under Valerian Ismael.

Jesse Lingard is back in favour at Manchester United. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Alfie Doughty: According to sources in England both Rangers and Celtic made moves to offer the then 20-year-old a contract. However although the promising midfielder did leave boyhood club Charlton Athletic – he moved to Stoke City in an undisclosed deal towards the end of the window, and now plays as a left-sided defensive midfielder for Michael O’Neill.

Ben Davies: Another who was linked with both sides of the Old Firm – Davies came close to a move to Celtic, but his name did circulate with Rangers ruours at the time as well. The club were watching Daniel Johnson and as one of the more likely departures from Deepdale, he too was linked. However neither Rangers nor Celtic managed to sign the defender, who moved to Liverpool in a high-profile deal – but did not feature for Jurgen Klopp and moved back to the Championship, joining Sheffield United on loan this season.

Dele Alli: It seems so unlikely now but a year ago, the Tottenham playmaker was being linked with a move to Scotland, on loan, to rekindle his career. Out of favour with Jose Mourinho at Spurs, linking up with Steven Gerrard was touted in several media outlets – and pundit Danny Murphy suggested it was a go-er, but Alli stayed put and is now a Tottenham regular once again.

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