Mateusz Zukowski: Rangers developments, target not just a defender, breakthrough season, will he slot straight in?

In seeking an attack-minded right-back with significant potential, as a replacement for Nathan Patterson and good quality cover for captain James Tavernier, Rangers have identified Mateusz Zukowski as the ideal candidate for the role.

The 20-year-old Lechia Gdansk player, a Polish under-21 international, is in Glasgow to complete his move to the Scottish champions before Monday night’s transfer deadline.

Zukowski burst onto the scene in Poland as a highly-rated striker, making his first team debut in that position for Lechia at the age of just 16 as he made two senior appearances in the 2017-18 campaign.

But as his development continued, Zukowski was initially moved into a left midfield position as he made two starts and six starts in the Polish top flight the following season. In 2019-20, he was loaned out to second tier club Chojniczanka Chojnice where he was also used on the left side of an attacking midfield three in their 4-2-3-1 formation.

Mateusz Zukowski, left, in action for Poland's under-21 side in a European Championship qualifier against Germany last October. (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)

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On his appearances for the Polish under-19 international side that season, however, Zukowski played at both centre forward and in a wide right position.

His progress stalled slightly on his return to Lechia for the 2020-21 campaign which saw him start just one game – on the left of an advanced midfield trio – and make a further 18 substitute appearances.

This season has proved to be the breakthrough one for Zukowski, however, who relished the switch to a role on the right with Lechia – either as right-back in a 4-2-3-1 or on the right side of midfield in a 3-4-2-1. He has also played on the right of midfield in his four appearances for the Polish under-21 side.

Zukowski has made 13 starts and seven sub appearances this season, scoring two goals, for a Lechia outfit currently fifth in the Polish top flight table. Just before their winter break, he lost his place in the team to the more experienced Bartosz Kopacz in the aftermath of a heavy 5-1 defeat at Pogon Szczecin at the end of November.

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Having been with Lechia at their mid-season training camp in Turkey, Zukowski is match fit as he closes in on joining Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s squad.

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