By Pranav Shahaney

5th May, 2021 | 6:30pm

Report: Napoli keen to sign Rangers target Joseph Okumu

Champions League side Napoli are now in the hunt for Elfsborg centre-back and Rangers target Joseph Okumu.

The 23-year-old has been linked with a Rangers move since March, after the club knocked back a £2m offer in the winter window. [Sportbladet]

However, Fotbollskanalen are now reporting that they will face stiff competition from Serie A side Napoli, managed by former Gers star Gennaro Gattuso.

Okumu’s understood to have other suitors as well, with Nice and Valencia keen on signing the promising centre-back in the summer.

Recently, the defender spoke about the transfer rumours surrounding him and talked up the possibility of moving at the end of the season.

He said, “If the right option emerges, I definitely want to take the next step.

“It depends on the project. It’s not just about going to a top league or a top team. It’s all about where I can go and develop, where my playing style fits and where I can make an impression.

“I’m not just moving to move. It is important to see the bigger picture. It’s the dream all players have.”

Champions League dream

If Rangers go through the ordeal of the qualifying rounds unscathed, they will be playing in the Champions League next season.

While Okumu might not walk into the first team, he will certainly play in some games and could also feature in the continent’s elite club competition.

When players talk about taking the step up, it is usually to play in the biggest of competitions. Representing Gers in the Champions League would be a great platform for him to showcase his skills.

He may already have outgrown the Swedish league – recording eye-catching numbers in it.

According to Wyscout data for 2021, he’s averaging 7.85 interceptions and 19.55 duels won per 90 minutes. Of those duels, a third have been in the air – showing just how well-rounded a defender he is.

A manager like Steven Gerrard could help him unleash his true potential and make him a first-team regular for the foreseeable future.

In other Rangers news, Former Celtic defender urges ‘Sensational’ Rangers ace to leave for international football