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Rangers agree pre-contract deal for talented 21-year-old Bournemouth ace – A smart stroke by Gerrard?

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Nnamdi Ofoborh of AFC Bournemouth and Jordan Ayew of Crystal Palace battle for the ball during the Carabao Cup Second Round match between AFC Bournemouth and Crystal Palace at Vitality Stadium on September 15, 2020 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Neil Hall - Pool/Getty Images)

Why Rangers signing Nnamdi Ofoborh would bolster their midfield

According to The Scottish Sun, Rangers have agreed on a pre-contract deal for highly-rated Bournemouth prospect Nnamdi Ofoborh in the January window.

The 21-year-old’s contract at the Vitality Stadium is due to expire at the end of the season and he is free to discuss the terms of his next move with other clubs this month. Rangers, now, have triumphed in their pursuit of the central midfielder, who will move to the Ibrox in the summer. (h/t The Scottish Sun)

Profile

Born in Southwark, England, to parents of Nigerian descent, Nnamdi Ofoborh joined Bournemouth’s youth ranks in 2016 after impressing as a trialist. He went on to enjoy a productive two-year spell with the U-18 side and was named Young Player of the Season in 2017-18. 

BARCELONA, SPAIN – JULY 20: Nnamdi Ofoborh of AFC Bournemouth competes for the ball with Alex Pachon of Girona FC during a pre-season friendly match between Girona and AFC Bournemouth at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on July 20, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Ofoborh started several pre-season fixtures for the Cherries in 2019 before sealing a loan move to Wycombe Wanderers in League One. The youngster made his competitive debut against Lincoln City and went on to feature 25 times in all competitions last term. 

Having made a positive impression on his loan spell, Ofoborh was included in Bournemouth’s first-team squad for the 2020-21 season following the club’s relegation to the Championship. The midfielder made his first-team debut for the Cherries in an EFL Cup tie against Crystal Palace in September and has since featured thrice in the Championship for Jason Tindall’s side.

Rangers’ current midfield scenario

Rangers’ pursuit of a new midfielder had been well-documented in the summer. While Preston’s Daniel Johnson was believed to be the prime target for Gerrard, the Gers were also linked with Patrik Hrosovsky and Dan Glazer from across the continent. 

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 12: Nnamdi Ofoborh of Wycombe Wanderers celebrates after he scores his sides first goal during the Leasing.com Trophy match between Milton Keynes and Wycombe Wanderers at Stadium MK on November 12, 2019, in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Eventually, though, the Ibrox giants were forced to rope in Bongani Zungu on loan from Amiens as a temporary fix to bolster their midfield. Rangers do have the option of striking a permanent deal for the South African international at the end of the season. But that looks highly unlikely to happen, with the player barely playing a part in Gerrard’s set-up. 

However, Rangers still do need to reshape their midfield with one eye on the future. Steven Davis has already played more than 30 games this season, despite turning 36 recently. Scott Arfield, 32, is also not getting younger while Ryan Jack has missed several games due to his struggles with injuries this term.

A good long-term signing?

Putting things into perspective, Rangers grabbing the opportunity to sign Nnamdi Ofoborh on a free transfer can go a long way towards freshening up their midfield with some youthful exuberance. The Nigerian U-20 international showed glimpses of his potential while on loan at Wycombe last season and is held in high regard at Bournemouth.

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND – JULY 26: Sam Field West Bromwich Albion is challenged by Nnamdi Ofoborh of Bournemouth during the Pre-Season Friendly match between West Bromwich Albion and Bournemouth at The Hawthorns on July 26, 2019, in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Morgan Harlow/Getty Images)

With Davis and Arfield both nearing their twilight, having a promising youngster like Ofoborh in the ranks would surely come in handy for Gerrard moving forward. He is not quite the finished article just yet, but given his potential, the Nigerian can develop into a quality player if provided with regular playtime. 

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Verdict

Gerrard has had a lot of success in terms of bringing in quality players from south of the border. The likes of Calvin Bassey, Joe Aribo, Arfield, Leon Balogun and Connor Goldson have all established themselves at Ibrox after coming through the door in recent windows. Nnamdi Ofoborh still has plenty of room for development at 21 and would make for an exciting addition to the squad on a free transfer.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

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

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