Director suggests Nikola Katic can challenge Dejan Lovren with Rangers move

A general view of Ibrox Stadium is seen ahead of the EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Scotland and Georgia at Ibrox Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Rangers snapped up defender Nikola Katic earlier this week.

A general view of Ibrox Stadium is seen ahead of the EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Scotland and Georgia at Ibrox Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Slaven Belupo sporting director Zvonimir Simunovic has told The Scottish Sun that he thinks new Rangers signing Nikola Katic can challenge Dejan Lovren for the Croatian national team.

Rangers had already tied up three signings before the start of the week, but then turned their attention to bringing in new defenders to boost Steven Gerrard's back line.

Whilst the deal for Brighton and Hove Albion defender Connor Goldson was the priority, Rangers did also snap up Croatian defender Nikola Katic too.

Fending off interest from Russian giants Spartak Moscow, Rangers tied up a deal to bring centre back Katic to Ibrox, handing the 21-year-old a four-year contract.

Steven Gerrard is unveiled as the new manager of Rangers football Club at Ibrox Stadium on May 4, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Katic has flourished in Croatia with Neretvanac Opuzen and Slaven Belupo, seemingly catching the eye of the Rangers staff and new boss Gerrard.

A 6ft 4in defender with one Croatian cap to his name already, Katic may start as a partner for Connor Goldson in the Rangers defence, though some fans are unfamiliar with him.

Now, Slaven Belupo sporting director Zvonimir Simunovic has told The Scottish Sun that he thinks Katic is strong, 'excellent' on the ground even better in the air, suggesting that he will become a Rangers fan favourite.

Liverpool's English midfielder Steven Gerrard (CR) and Liverpool's Croatian defender Dejan Lovren (CL) applaud the crowd after the final whistle in the UEFA Champions League, group B,...

Simunovic also backed Katic to become a Croatian international regular during his time Rangers, and thinks his Rangers move will allow him to challenge Gerrard's former Liverpool teammate Dejan Lovren on the international stage.

“Nikola is very strong in challenges, excellent on the ground and even better in the air,” sai Simunovic. “He’s also fast for such a strong defender and quite often we played him in central midfield. Vedran Corluka and Dejan Lovren have been top class for Croatia for a long time but Nikola can get close to them if he keeps developing. I am sure as a Rangers player he’ll be closer to becoming a regular national team player.”

“He didn’t make the World Cup squad this time but he has been a regular member of the U-21s. I am sure Nikola will adapt quickly and easily because Scottish football is perfect for someone like him who is aggressive and strong. He just has so much quality and I’m sure the Rangers supporters will also appreciate him,” he added.

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