Steven Gerrard’s influence in attracting new players to Rangers was underlined as Croatian international defender Nikola Katic signed a four-year contract at the Ibrox club.
The 21-year-old, who had also attracted interest from Spartak Moscow, revealed the presence of former Liverpool and England captain Gerrard as the new Rangers manager convinced him immediately to move to Glasgow.
Rangers agreed a fee in the region of £2 million for Katic with his Croatian club Slaven Belupo. The player passed a medical yesterday morning before arriving at Ibrox to complete the transfer.
Katic becomes Rangers’ fifth signing of the summer after earlier permanent deals were concluded for goalkeeper Allan McGregor, midfielder Scott Arfield and winger Jamie Murphy along with a season-long loan deal for Liverpool midfielder Ovie Ejaria.
Connor Goldson, the 25-year-old Brighton player who is expected to form a new central defensive partnership with Katic, should conclude his move to Rangers for a fee of around £3m within the next 24 hours.
Katic, capped once at full international level, expressed his enthusiasm at the prospect of working under Gerrard in the forthcoming season.
“It’s a big pleasure to be here,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest clubs in Europe, in the world. It’s good to be here, it’s a big step for me.
“When they told me Steven Gerrard wants to sign me, I told my agent I just need to take my shoes and run to Scotland! He is a legend of football in the world and I’m glad to be here with him.
“Rangers is a big club in a strong league. I can play in Europe and play in front of 50,000 fans at every home game. It’s wonderful and a really good step for me.”
At 6ft 4in, Katic has aerial prowess and a physical presence he believes will be ideally suited to the demands of the Scottish Premiership.
“I am the sort of player who likes a duel,” he told Rangers TV. “And in Scotland, the type of football I think is for me. There are a lot of long balls and a lot of duels, and that is what I like.
“I’ve seen the stadium on television and I have read about the fans and the rivalry with Celtic. It is really great and I cannot wait to play here.
“I want to train hard every day and help the team to get better results in every game,