By Joe Ellis

14th Jul, 2022 | 1:10pm

Rangers hold upper hand over Celtic in Japhet Matondo race after latest signing

Giovanni van Bronckhorst made his fourth Rangers summer signing in bringing Welsh international Rabbi Matondo to Ibrox from Schalke.

The 21-year-old is expected to go straight into the Light Blues side when the Scottish Premiership season gets up and running having signed a four-year deal to be the Bears’ number 17, as announced on the club’s official Twitter account.

Believe it or not, though, that might not be the last Matondo we sign this summer because Rabbi’s younger brother Japhet is also on the club’s radar, as reported by Wales Online on 19 May.

Japhet, 16, is currently in the Cardiff City academy but he is yet to sign a scholarship with the Bluebirds and that has piqued the interest of the Gers as well as Leeds United and Old Firm rivals Celtic.

Rangers have already managed to poach a number of young players from across Scotland and the rest of the UK including Zak Lovelace from Millwall, Bailey Rice from Motherwell and Keiron Willox from Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Given their very recent track record in signing youth players ahead of their rivals, the Light Blues could have been considered favourites to sign the teenager before his older brother arrived in Glasgow from Gelsenkirchen.

But now his older brother has made his choice of Rangers over Celtic, van Bronckhorst and the Ibrox chiefs may be asking the 21-year-old to follow in his footsteps and reject the Hoops this summer.

Unlike his older brother, the 16-year-old would have to wait a number of years before he gets to play a competitive game for the club’s first team but he may well get chances during the 2022-23 campaign to help out the B team as they take on the Lowland League for the second successive season.

They finished second behind Bonnyrigg Rose last season but will hope that Matondo can help them go one better should he come to Auchenhowie.

In other Rangers news, van Bronckhorst has injury problems in defence as yet another setback strikes one of his centre-halves during pre-season training.