'Something has to give' - McDermott names 2 Rangers defenders under threat after Simpson signing
The futures of Filip Helander and Leon Balogun are unclear after Rangers secured the signing of Bournemouth defender Jack Simpson on a pre-contact deal.
That is according to Scott McDermott, chief football writer at the Sunday Mail, with the Gers now stacked with options at centre back.
Steven Gerrard already has Connor Goldson, Nikola Katic and George Edmundson at his disposal alongside Helander and Balogun so when Simpson links up with the squad in the summer he will have at least six senior options to choose from.
Despite being a club that wants to attack all competitions six central defenders is clearly at least one too many so attention has turned to who may make way for the arrival of Simpson.
Speaking on the Record Rangers podcast, McDermott said: “The concern has to be that Balogun or Helander will go at the end of the season.”
He added: “Something has to give, Jack Simpson isn’t coming from Bournemouth to Rangers on a pre-contract to be a squad player who is going to be on the fringes, he is coming to really challenge.”
Helander or Balogun?
If it is to be a straight shoot-out between Helander and Balogun then who should be retained and who should be let go?
Well, if the Light Blues want to cash in then it must be the big Swede who still has 18 months left on his contract while Balogun’s expires at the end of the season, though there is an option to extend it for another year.
Even if this is taken up, though, at 27-years-old Helander is five years younger than his teammate and would therefore have a much higher resale value and theoretically more years left of playing.
However Helander has shown himself to be more injury prone of late, with a foot injury keeping him out of the side for 24 games in 2019/20 [Transfermarkt].
Goldson is the established number one at the heart of the Gers defence and is an ever-present but Gerrard has shown he likes to rotate the options next to him with Helander and Balogun both making 15 Premiership appearances this season.
Both have slightly different characteristics with Helander more dominant in the air with a 69.09% accuracy compared to Balogun’s 65.43% though the Nigeria international can boast the pass accuracy in the division from an outfielder with a stunning 94.69% [Wyscout].
They have proved themselves to be valuable options in the centre of defence but if it were up to us at Ibrox News and money was no object, we would opt to keep Helander given his aerial prowess and with youth on his side.
In other Rangers news, Davie Provan launches scathing attack on Gers star and says his time is up at Ibrox.