Rangers should sign Joel Ekstrand after Leeds United withdraw their pursuit

Watford's Joel Ekstrand (R) in action

Scottish Premier League outfit Rangers should make a swoop for Joel Ekstrand this summer.

Watford's Joel Ekstrand (R) in action

Rangers have put up a statement of intent by making a number of high profile signings this summer as they prepare for life in the Scottish Premier League once again.

The Gers have landed the services of Joey Barton, Clint Hill, Niko Kranjcar, Jordan Rossiter and Josh Windass among others and all of the aforementioned players have arrived at Ibrox on a free transfer.

Manager Mark Warburton has certainly used the transfer market very well so far and another free agent who could be worth looking at for the 53-year-old will be Joel Ekstrand.

Ekstrand was released by Watford at the end of last season following an injury hit campaign but despite his struggles at Vicarage Road, it was reported (Bristol Post) last week that Championship outfit Leeds United were ready to make a swoop for the defender.

Watford's Joel Ekstrand aand Middlesbrough's Kike

However, the Yorkshire Evening Post have gone on to reveal recently that Leeds United have backed out from their move for the 27-year-old at the last minute due to concerns over his fitness.

Leeds withdrawing their pursuit of Ekstrand will serve as a red light to other clubs interested in the defender but Rangers should take a leap of faith by making a move for the ex-Watford man.

Rangers have shown in the transfer market this summer that they are not afraid to take risks after signing players such as Kranjcar, Hill and Windass, and a move for Ekstrand would be no different.

Admittedly, Ekstrand’s fitness issues will be a major concern for Rangers but if one is to look at the defender’s record ahead of the devastating cruciate ligament rupture (suffered at the tail end of the 2014/15 campaign), he is most certainly not an injury prone player.

Rangers manager Mark Warburton celebrates at the end of the match

At just 27, Ekstrand has time on his side and one could argue that if the defender returns back to full fitness, he still has his peak years ahead of him. If indeed Rangers are able to keep Ekstrand fit, he could prove to be a major asset ahead of the upcoming campaign.

Rob Kiernan and Danny Wilson are undoubtedly talented young players but they are susceptible to making errors, as evidenced by their performances last season.

Many believe that the summer arrival of Hill will keep the duo on their toes but it seems like the 37-year-old will act more as a senior member who will impart his wisdom rather than pose as direct competition for a place in the central defensive lineup.

Watford's Joel Ekstrand (L) in action with Bolton's Craig Davies

If Rangers do sign Ekstrand though, he could genuinely serve as a threat to Kiernan and Wilson’s spot in the starting lineup.

Warburton has links to Watford due to his previous role there as head of development, and may be able to get the inside track on his fitness issues.

The Swedish international has experience in the Serie A, Champions League, Europa League as well as the unforgiving English Championship and he is more than well equipped to ply his trade in the Scottish Premier League.

Given the fact that Rangers are looking to challenge for the Scottish Premier League title this season, they will need strength in depth in key areas such as central defence and Ekstrand would certainly be a welcome addition – even if he does not earn a starting spot immediately.

As for Ekstrand, a move to Rangers would give him a wonderful opportunity to get his career back on track at a huge club and the transfer could potentially prove to be a win-win for all the parties involved.

Birmingham's Clayton Donaldson (L) in action with Watford's Joel Ekstrand

Would Ekstrand be a good signing for Rangers?

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