The centre back position is one of the most under-appreciated in all of football.
Players who excel in that role often get overlooked when it comes to individual honours, and never quite get featured in those social media highlight reels you see so much these days.
And when it comes to the transfer business carried out this summer at Rangers by Michael Beale, it seems he has also taken on the former approach when it comes to his centre back recruitment.
The Ibrox boss has spent big this summer on bringing in eight new recruitments to the club, with the majority of his outlay to-date, around about £15m, being spent on bolstering his forward line with three new strikers.
However, when it comes to the centre of his defence, just the one player has come in the door in the form of Leon Balogun – a free transfer from QPR who only appears to be been recruited after Leon King picked up what was thought at the time to be a serious injury.
Now, with such an exciting rebuild having taken place at Rangers this pre-season, why are we focusing on this area and scrutinising so closely?
That is because last season, our defence were either spending most of their days on the treatment table, or struggling to do the very basics on the park.
And the situation doesn’t look very promising on either regard right now.
Balogun has looked decent enough when he has featured in pre-season, but you have to remember he’s 35 and only looked to have been brought in as a fourth/fifth choice.
Connor Goldson has only just returned to training but after his stop/start campaign last term, we don’t yet know if he will return to peak Goldson that doesn’t miss a minute of football.
Ben Davies looks the epitome of both of 2022/23 season’s centre back issues, with this pre-season doing nothing to ease those fears, whilst John Souttar’s injury history still worries fans despite being in top form in recent months.
Outwith that, you are left with King and Johnly Yfeko, but ideally, you don’t want a repeat of last year where you are throwing these boys into the deep dive and risking putting their development back a step.
So it’s vitally important now the attacking aspects of the team have been refined that any remaining resources are put into strengthening this area of the park. That could be one or two players, dependent on if any of the current crop head out the door.
But as the days and weeks pass by in this transfer window, so do does the players which we’ve been strongly linked with in this position. Auston Trusty has signed for Sheffield United for £5m, Charlie Cresswell has extended his deal at Leeds, and The 4th Official yesterday reported that the club are no longer interested in Jonathan Panzo.
With no obvious targets in the pipeline, this is deeply concerning. You can have all the attacking flair in the world, but they can have their offdays, and if you aren’t capable of staying focused for 90 minutes and keeping your team from conceding sloppy goals, then you won’t win titles.
Having Goldson back will be a big help, as both Souttar and Davies improved vastly with him there, but more is needed, and fast. Otherwise, you get towards the end of the window, and fans may start associated anyone identified then as a panic buy, and that is a reputation even the best of players struggle to recover from at Rangers.