Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

Steven Gerrard not only raised the standards at Rangers, dragging one of Britain’s biggest clubs off the seat of it’s pants and into the Europa League knockout-stages, his two-and-a-half years in the Ibrox dugout also coincided with massive improvements in the recruitment department. 

Ianis Hagi, Kemar Roofe, Leon Balogun, Filip Helander, Joe Aribo, Connor Goldson and Steven Davis all played a major role as Rangers secured their first Scottish Premiership title in a decade. 

But there’s an argument to be made that Gerrard’s best signing as Gers boss was not the rampaging Aribo, the evergreen Davis or penalty-box poacher Roofe.  

STEVEN GERRARD TO ASTON VILLA IS WRONG.

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It seems remarkable now to suggest that, back in 2019, some were wondering whether Borna Barisic had what it takes to make a success of his time in Scotland’s second city. 

“It is not easy, of course, but I have strong points and I don’t care what people say,” Barisic said at the time, via The National.

“Criticism is normal in football. People criticise Ronaldo and Messi so it is just a normal thing.” 

Last season, Barisic produced five goals and 14 assists from left-back as Rangers knocked Old Firm rivals Celtic off their perch. A slap in the face for the critics, then.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

And Borna Sosa could certainly do a lot worse than to look at the 29-year-old for inspiration with BILD reporting that Barisic’s £25 million-rated compatriot is on Aston Villa’s radar heading into the January transfer window. 

Will Borna Sosa be Steven Gerrard’s first Aston Villa signing?

Sosa and Barisic have a lot in common – and not just because they share the same first name.

Both are Croatia internationals, both are technically-gifted, attack-minded full-backs and both are renowned for their wondrous crossing ability.

Sosa notched 10 assists from the left flank last term, forming a fearsome partnership with Stuttgart’s 6ft 7ins targetman Sasa Kalajdzic while earning comparisons to Premier League legend David Beckham. 

Things turned out rather well for Gerrard the last time he snapped up a Croatian left-back.

And while Sosa would cost a damn sight more than Barisic did, he’ll be worth every penny of that £25 million investment if Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings benefit from his dead-eyed delivery as frequently as Kalajdzic has.

Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

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