Three Nigerian international players left the Ibrox in the summer, and the Anfield hero is convinced they were not adequately replaced
Liverpool legend Sir Kenny Dalglish suggests that the departure of Nigerian international stars Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey left Glasgow Rangers weakened ahead of the 2022-2023 season.
Joe Aribo, Calvin Bassey, and Leon Balogun were the three Super Eagles players who departed the Ibrox Stadium during the summer transfer window.
Nigerian playmaker Aribo left Rangers for Southampton in the English Premier League, while fullback Bassey completed a club-record move to Eredivisie champions Ajax in August.
Rangers released centre-back Balogun who then joined Queens Park Rangers.
The veteran defender has impressed in London, and there are reports he could return to Glasgow in January.
The trio’s departure coincided with a poor start to the campaign for the Rangers.
The Gers have fallen behind bitter rivals Celtic in the race for the league title while they are out of the UEFA Champions League after losing all six group games.
What can turn the situation around for Rangers?
Rangers have sacked Dutch manager Gio van Bronkhorst after that run of disappointing results, and Michael Beale has been appointed as his replacement.
Beale has talked up the qualities of the players he has inherited at Rangers, but Sir Dalglish is not impressed with the lot.
And the legendary Scottish star insists Rangers must get players of the level of Aribo and Bassey to return to the heights of recent seasons.
“It will be interesting to see what funds are made available to him by the Rangers hierarchy,” Dalglish wrote for Sunday Post.
“Michael is on record as saying he has a really strong squad, but they need to find better players.
“They didn’t do so last summer when they sold Calvin Bassey and Joe Aribo. They didn’t get similar quality in.
“So, Michael will look to unearth players of that calibre as soon as possible. He’ll also look for bargains, such as the deal that got Glen Kamara from Dundee during Michael’s first spell at Ibrox.
“Steven (Gerrard) was good at doing that, and Michael will need to emulate that as quickly as possible.”
Aribo, 26, joined Rangers on a free transfer from Charlton Athletic in 2019 but left for Southampton in a deal worth ten million euros.
Compatriot Bassey switched Leicester City for Rangers in 2020 for a minimal developmental fee. The 22-year-old defender, however, became Nigeria’s most expensive defender in history when he completed his €23 million move to Ajax.