Pedro Caixinha has promised Rangers supporters the players he recruits this summer will become heroes at Ibrox, even if they do not arrive with big reputations
As he begins the task of reshaping the squad he inherited from Mark Warburton, Caixinha has been linked with a number of little-known players he worked with at his previous clubs in Mexico and Qatar. They include Ghanaian central defender Rashid Sumaila, Mexican right-back Jose Abella and Argentinian defender Carlos Izquierdoz.
Caixinha would not be drawn on speculation over individual targets but has declared those who arrive in Glasgow this summer will be “warriors” who quickly endear themselves to the Rangers fans, 25,000 of whom have already renewed their season tickets for next season ahead of next Monday’s deadline.
“Sometimes the names of the players can [excite the fans],” said the Rangers manager. “Other times, maybe the names can create some doubts. But after they did the first tackle on the pitch, after they did the first pass, after they scored the first goal, all the doubts are gone. That’s what we want to do. We know what the club needs. We are working to bring those warriors that the club needs to help us to get to another level. I really believe that, if things are going in that direction, the fans will love it.
“What keeps this club and all the big clubs alive are the fans. Even when what happened to Rangers five years ago happened, the fans didn’t leave. Our fans will support us all the time. Will they support more, be happier and more confident? Maybe if the names of the players are going in the direction they want and if the team performs on the pitch the way they want it to.
“It’s very easy to be heroes for the Rangers fans. You just need to give everything on the pitch. That’s what they love. Of course you need to know the game and you need to have quality, but you need to show that passion individually and collectively. That’s what we are looking for.
“The conversations we are having with the players we want to come here are going in two directions. First of all, the club itself, even if it wasn’t playing in the Europa League, is something that calls attention to the players. The second point is for me. I want to bring players who are really keen to come, to play for the club and to play for me.
“They come to play for Rangers, they come to play for me. That is what I am looking for. Along the process, we have conversations with several players. Even with some I know, I felt that these guys were not keen to come. I just stop it there. I don’t want players who are coming here and don’t know what they are coming to and are not committed.
“What we need is experience, knowledge, understanding and performing the way I want. Also, to know what it really means to play for this club with the demands that are put on you all the time, not from game to game, but by pass by pass. That is the reaction that you want to take. The club is holding talks with a number of players at present. Some of those players are already on holiday, other players may be involved in competition the day before we start back and others can maybe be involved in our pre-season.”
Rangers will begin their pre-season on 5 June, in preparation for their first Europa League qualifying fixture on 29 June. Caixinha confirmed there will be no overseas trip for his squad this year.
“We won’t have time for that,” said Caixinha. “We will just play three [warm-up] matches here and that is all.”
Caixinha is currently in the process of informing his current squad which of them he regards as having a future under his reign at the club and those who are surplus to requirements. It is understood defenders Clint Hill and Philippe Senderos have already been told they will not be offered new contracts at the end of the season, while midfielder Emerson Hyndman’s loan spell from Bournemouth has been cut short.
“This week I have told three players regarding their futures,” added Caixinha. “They are private discussions and they will remain between the players and myself. I hope to have some more done by the end of the week and by next week I will have finished the process.
“It is undoubtedly the hardest part of the job, it will always be like that. At the end, I am an emotional guy, I am a sensitive guy, but I need to be the one to tell the players. I believe it should be done at the earliest point to help them find new clubs.”