Who is Rangers target Jonathan Panzo - contract situation, World Cup winner, European experience

Rangers have been linked with Nottingham Forest defender Jonathan Panzo as Michael Beale prepares for a partial rebuild in the transfer window with a number of players potentially departing Ibrox.

The 22-year-old former England under-21 international previously worked with Beale during his time as a youngster at Chelsea and is currently on loan in the English second tier with Coventry City. According to the Daily Record, Rangers have had the player scouted with a view to a summer move with the head coach admitting earlier this year that he was in the market for a defender. Swedish centre-back Filip Helander will likely depart having not featured this season due to injury and his contract to expire at the end of the season.

Panzo, a left-side centre-back who can also play full-back, has had an interesting career. Following nine years with Chelsea he joined French side Monaco in 2018 despite reported interest from Italian giants Juventus, Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach and Spanish cracks Valencia. Most of his experience arrived with the reserve team in National 2, France’s fourth tier. However, he did progress to become a first-team member during the pre-season for the 2019/20 season and started a Ligue 1 match against Lyon before a switch to the Belgian top-flight where he gained regular experience with Cercle Brugge.

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In the summer of 2020 there was significant interest from England over a loan move but it was understood Monaco wanted a permanent deal with a transfer fee of upwards €4million. He eventually joined Dijon where he featured 23 times in a season where they were relegated from the French top-flight. A knee injury limited his game time the following campaign and he would move to Nottingham Forest midway through the season, signing a contract until 2025 and linking up with Steve Cooper who was his manager with the England Under-17s.

‘Exciting young player’

It was during his time with the national side Panzo attracted plenty of attention as he helped his country win the Under-17 World Cup in India, starting the 5-2 final win over Spain in 2018. He was also part of the England side which reached the European Championship final the following year only to lose on penalties to Spain. Panzo was included in the team of the tournament.

“Jonathan is an exciting young player who can play a couple of defensive roles," Cooper said on his signing. "Having excelled as a young player at Chelsea and England, he has good pedigree and we look forward to working with him."

Panzo, who qualifies to play for the Ivory Coast through his parents, has featured just once for Forest, however, and has spent this campaign on loan at Coventry City in the English Championship. He was a regular for the majority of the season, impressing fans as a well-rounded defender. Physical and aggressive, good in the air but also a calming figure in possession. He has not reached the same heights in 2023. He has played just three times since being sent off in a 4-3 defeat to Wrexham in the FA Cup, not helped by a bruised knee which has kept him out until recently when he returned to the bench.

Jonathan Panzo has been linked with Rangers. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)Jonathan Panzo has been linked with Rangers. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Jonathan Panzo has been linked with Rangers. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)



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