Nacer Barazite started his career at Arsenal
The astute tactical tweaking of Erik Ten Haag, a student of Pep Guardiola, and the reliable goalscoring threat of Sebastian Haller were largely viewed as the main reasons why Utrecht defied expectations to qualify for the Europa League last season.
However, that does the impact of Nacer Barazite a disservice. The 27-year-old, once one of the most promising talents in Arsenal’s renowned youth academy, scored six goals and produced four assists in another fine campaign at the heart of Utrecht’s high tempo attacking game.
The former Dutch Under-21 international has been one of the first names on the team-sheet at the Eredivisie club since joining from Austria Wien in 2014. Therefore, with his contract expiring this summer, he will be badly missed.
Though the club fortunate enough to welcome Barazite on board will discover a rangy yet technically gifted attacking midfielder, blessed with superb dribbling ability, intelligent link-play and an eye for goal.
Seven years on...
In short, it’s everything Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha could want from a midfielder at Ibrox, particularly with the Daily Record claiming that key creator Barrie McKay will be sold this summer.
Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha
Caixinha has taken his recruitment far and wide in recent weeks, picking up talents from Portugal, Mexico and Pittodrie, but the Dutch-based midfielder would be a superb addition on a free.
But why Rangers? Well, Barazite has unfinished business at Ibrox.
According to the Daily Mail, the then-20-year-old was given the chance to join Rangers on a season-long deal from Arsenal back in 2010 and stood out on an initial trial period.
Barazite said he spoke to Rangers legend and compatriot Arthur Numan about Rangers
“Moving to Rangers would be good for me. It would be a step forward, not back, because they are a very big club,” Barazite said.
In the end, however, the youngster returned to his homeland with Vitesse Arnhem instead. Though, seven years on, he would still be an excellent addition to a Rangers midfield in need of creative cutting edge.