Simao Mate joined Caixinha in forgotten 2008 Ibrox mission - should Rangers consider him?

Simao Mate in action against Rangers

Pedro Caixinha worked with Simao Mate at Panathinaikos - and they took on Rangers together in 2008.

Simao Mate in action against RangersSimao Mate in action against Rangers

New Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha will be looking to use the final weeks of the season to analyse his squad, and he will have been encouraged by last week's 3-0 win over Aberdeen.

Whilst the Gers could have landed Caixinha as Mark Warburton's successor this summer, they clearly brought him in from Al-Gharafa early in order to assess a squad that has underwhelmed this season.

Warburton's poor work in the transfer market has left Rangers reeling, and Caixinha will be looking to bring in new signings to re-tool his squad, with players he has worked with previously potentially on his wish list.

Caixinha will be well aware of Rangers' budgetary restrictions though, and one free agent he will be very familiar with is midfielder Simao Mate.

Mate, 28, spent his formative years with Panathinaikos, where Caixinha was working as an assistant manager to boss Jose Peseiro. During their time together in Greece, Caixinha and Mate actually faced Rangers, as Caixinha's often forgotten trip to Ibrox saw Panatihinaikos take on the Gers in the UEFA Cup.

Mate was just a youngster then, but he went on to become a regular with Panathinaikos, earning a move to China with Shandong Luneng in 2012 – but less than a year later, he was off to Spain to join La Liga side Levante.

With almost 100 La Liga appearances to his name, Mate was a consistent performer with Levante, but has been a free agent since his contract with the Spanish side expired at the end of last season.

In January, as reported by El Desmarques, Mate offered his services to Sporting Gijon as he looks to find another club, and he is believed to be training in Italy to prepare himself for a summer move.

New Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha poses with a scarf after the press conferenceNew Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha poses with a scarf after the press conference

A powerful, aggressive defensive midfielder with 32 Mozambique caps to his name, Mate is still only 28 and has enough left in the tank to play at a high level, and a reunion with Caixinha should at least be considered.

Rangers are hardly blessed with midfield options; Joey Barton was released after just eight games, Niko Kranjcar has missed most of the season through injury, whilst both Jon Toral and Emerson Hyndman are only on loan, and will return to their parent clubs this summer.

The Gers were often accused of being a soft touch under Mark Warburton, but successor Caixinha wants to make the more physical and aggressive, with Mate fitting the bill – especially given his history with Caixinha and his free agent status. At the very least, the midfielder is worth a trial to see how he has kept up his fitness levels since leaving Levante, with Caixinha no doubt aware of what he can offer.

Would you like to see Rangers move for Mate?

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