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Rangers would be quite smart to take a punt on this talented 21-year-old Croatian ace – Here’s why

SERRAVALLE, ITALY - JUNE 24: Marijan Cabraja of Croatia in action during the 2019 UEFA U-21 Group C match between Croatia and England at San Marino Stadium on June 24, 2019 in Serravalle, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)

Why Rangers should take a punt on Marijan Cabraja to replace Barisic

According to claims from Croatian outlet Sportske Novosti (h/t Daily Record), Croatian U-21 international Marijan Cabraja has confirmed interest from Scottish giants Rangers in his services. 

The 21-year-old, who currently plies his trade with HNK Gorica in his homeland, has revealed that the Gers have established contact with his agent. The left-back, however, has admitted that a potential transfer to Ibrox would depend on the situation of Borna Barisic, who has attracted interest from several clubs across the continent, including Leeds United and Tottenham in the Premier League. 

Profile

Marijan Cabraja started his career in the youth ranks of Dinamo Zagreb and went on to represent the club at the reserve level after impressing for the U-17 and U-19 sides. However, the defender never made a senior competitive appearance for the Croatian heavyweights and shot to prominence after completing a move to top-flight rivals HNK Gorica in 2018.

The 21-year-old has established himself as a key player for Gorica over the past three seasons. Cabraja has amassed 3 goals and 7 assists in 77 appearances for the club in all competitions while representing Croatia at U-19 and U-21 levels. 

SERRAVALLE, ITALY – JUNE 24: Marijan Cabraja of Croatia in action during the 2019 UEFA U-21 Group C match between Croatia and England at San Marino Stadium on June 24, 2019 in Serravalle, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)

Cabraja could replace Barisic at Ibrox

Rangers are very much in the driver’s seat in the race for the Scottish Premiership crown this season. The Gers are currently 16 points clear of Old Firm rivals Celtic atop the standings, although the Hoops still have 3 games in hand. All in all, Steven Gerrard’s brigade look well on course to end their decade-long pursuit of the domestic title.

Gerrard, to that end, should have one eye on bolstering his squad with some new signings in the winter window. Signing a new left-back shouldn’t be a top priority for the Gers, though, with Barisic firmly established as the first-choice in that role. Rangers roped in Calvin Bassey from Leicester City in the summer and the youngster has proven his worth as a quality alternative to Barisic on the left. 

However, a potential exit for Barisic in January or next summer would necessitate Rangers to look for reinforcements at left-back. Putting things into context, Gerrard should consider taking a punt on his Croatian compatriot Marijan Cabraja if the Ibrox giants do end up cashing in on their current first-choice in that department. 

Marijan Cabraja reveals Rangers transfer interest as 'contact has been  established' for new Borna Barisic - Daily Record
Marijan Cabraja (Getty Images)

Cabraja failed to make the grade at Dinamo Zagreb but has shown his quality since moving to Gorica in the Croatian top-flight. His impressive tally of assists clearly shows that the 21-year-old is very much a modern-day offensive-minded full-back in a mould similar to Barisic.

That he has also represented his nation at the U-21 level clearly underlines his progress in recent times. 

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Verdict

A potential departure for Barisic would undoubtedly deal a great blow to Rangers, given his quality at both ends of the pitch. Marijan Cabraja isn’t the finished article at 21 just yet, but his talent and potential certainly can’t be called into question.

Barisic was hardly a well-known figure prior to his move to Rangers and Cabraja looks very much capable of emulating the success of his senior compatriot at Ibrox.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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