Craig Moore reveals he recommended £10m Napoli superstar Khvicha Kvaratskhelia to Rangers bosses
Former Rangers defender Craig Moore has revealed that he gave the club a recommendation to sign Napoli forward Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.
The Georgian international, earning favourable comparisons to Argentina legend Diego Maradona, has quickly shot to European stardom with the Serie A leaders this season after sealing a £10m move to the Italian giants last summer from Dinamo Batumi.
And former Gers defender Moore couldn’t help but recommend the 22-year-old to the Ibrox club after being tasked with securing Kvaratskhelia a move to Southampton.
However, the former Ibrox man said that the club already had their recruitment plans – led by Ross Wilson in place.
Speaking to GoRadio as transcribed by FootballScotland [16 March], the Rangers TV pundit said: “It’s a funny story.
“He was in Russia and due to all the issues, he went back to Georgia to play at Batumi.
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“I had the mandate to try and get him to Southampton with the management company I am working with. Southampton at £11-12million – which was the figure at the time – said that’s probably not something we are looking at, and it’s still a bit of a risk. The English clubs like to see you perform somewhere else before and then pay overs, which is madness for me.
“I did throw the little Malteser at Rangers saying ‘is this not somebody you could maybe look at? Get him in on loan with an option to buy, because it’s not going to happen here in the UK’. Rangers were set at that time with their recruitment and their signings, and the next minute I saw him pop up at Napoli for £10m.”
Rangers fans will be forgiven for dreaming about what might have been had the Gers secured the signing of Kvaratskhelia rather than Napoli.
The Georgian international has enjoyed a phenomenal first campaign in Europe, going on to register 11 goals and 11 assists so far in Serie A which makes for superb reading.
It’s quite baffling that it takes UK clubs to see a talent perform elsewhere before making their move, and that has now proven a big mistake for both Rangers and Southampton.
Certainly, the pressure to succeed is quite damning but it would have proven a healthy risk for Gers sporting director Wilson to take a punt on the Georgian who could well have proved the difference in Rangers toppling Celtic this season.
But, it wasn’t to be. Lessons need to be learned within the Gers’ recruitment team for the future, as they can no longer miss out on signing such gems with their Old Firm rivals now looking more complete and more street-smart with their own recruitment.
In other Rangers news, the SPFL will hold talks with Police Scotland before setting a date for the final Scottish Premiership clash between the Gers and Celtic.