Scottish Premiership: Rangers preview -Transfers | Key player | Prediction | What is success for Gerrard's men?

Joe Aribo could be a star for Rangers. Picture: SNS
Joe Aribo could be a star for Rangers. Picture: SNS
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Rangers have once again dipped into the transfer market as they look to close down Celtic. Joel Sked looks at how well placed they are.

Manager

Steven Gerrard's first ever season as a first-team manager. It wasn't hugely successful but it was clear Rangers made progress under his guidance with their highest top tier finish and points total since 2011.

Last season

The campaign got off to a great start in terms of European progression, going from the first qualifying round to the knockout stages. However, it seemed to hamper them in the league, winning once in the opening four games. They eventually eased to second place but domestic cup competitions were a disappointment.

Transfers

IN: Filip Helander (Bologna, £3.5m), George Edmundson (Oldham Athletic, £600k), Joe Aribo (Charlton Athletic, £300k), Steven Davis (Southampton, loan made permanent), Jake Hastie (Motherwell), Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock), Greg Stewart (Birmingham City), Sheyi Ojo (Liverpool, loan)

OUT: Daniel Candeias (Genclerbirligi, £250k), Ryan Hardie (Blackpool), Lee Hodson (Gillingham), Lee Wallace (Queens Park Rangers), Jak Alnwick (Blackpool, loan), Eduardo Herrera (Necaxa, loan), Stephen Kelly (Ayr United, loan), Ross McCrorie (Portsmouth, loan), Jordan Rossiter (Fleetwood Town, loan), Lassana Coulibaly (Angers, end of loan), Ryan Kent (Liverpool, end of loan), Joe Worrall (Nottingham Forest, end of loan), Myles Beerman, Kyle Bradley, Liam Burt, Kyle Lafferty, Gareth McAuley

Most interesting recruit

The fact Charlton Athletic boss Lee Bowyer was so bitter when Joe Aribo opted to move to Scotland speaks volumes.

The midfielder was being chased by a number of clubs in England and Europe, with Celtic even mentioned. It is seen as quite the coup for the Ibrox side with the belief that they will sell him on for a huge profit, similar to what Celtic did with Moussa Dembele.

The team lacked a creative central spark and it will be curious to see if Aribo is the man to provide them with that. He hit double figures from midfield last season and has already shown he is capable of doing the same.

Key player

For a brief time it appeared that Steven Davis was going to slightly tarnish the reputation gained during his first spell at Ibrox.

He struggled to get to grips with the Scottish top tier on his return. But when you consider that he had barely played at Southampton and he had turned 34 in January that is understandable.

After time he found his rhythm again and had Rangers fans purring. He has continued his form into the Europa League qualifying stages.

That ability to think faster, act quicker, all while remaining composed means he will bring a cool head and direction to the Rangers midfield which is overflowing with options.

What do they still need?

Steven Gerrard's continued pursuit of Ryan Kent suggests a wide man. But as seen when coming up against tight, rigid defences an attacker who can control the tempo in the final third and make sure play does not become rushed.

The question: What will be determined as a successful season?

"Silverware is a must for this club every year," Gerrard said ahead of the Kilmarnock match on Sunday at Rugby Park.

Many fans will likely only be satisfied if they stop Celtic from reaching ten in a row. That is the nature of that Glasgow gold fish bowl which is often mentioned. These clubs come in tandem and it is impossible for a lot of fans and pundits to separate one from the other.

Rangers should simply concentrate on themselves, making improvements to reach where the way to be and not to make unrealistic jumps. Easier said than done.

Simply winning one of the three domestic trophies - and not dropping below second - would be improvement on paper. If they can show strides to get within touching distance of Celtic, even if that means the Parkhead side going into next season with ten in a row in their sights, then it may give them a better platform to prevent it at the last possible second.

It will be fascinating.

Any other business

This Hummel/Sports Direct/Mike Ashley case. Not a good look for the club.

Prediction

2nd

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*Transfers courtesy of Narey's Topepoker