According to the Daily Record, Niko Kranjčar may be the target of an offer to return to Europe. Rangers FC is reportedly interested in the Croatian and may be looking to sign him as a part of their squad for the 2016/17 season kicking off in August.
Rangers just received promotion back into Scottish Premier League after being thrust down into the fourth division for the 2012/13 season. Having worked their way back up, the club is looking to rebuild their squad for first-division action and the Cosmos player may be in their cross-hairs.
Rangers manager Mark Warburton reportedly traveled to New York last week to begin talks with the midfielder. The 31-year-old has plenty of experience in European football of course, having played in his native Croatia and the Ukraine, and spent extensive time in the Premier League with clubs Tottenham Hotspurs, Portsmouth, and Queens Park Rangers.
Niko has also been an important and influential part of the midfield, staring in four of his five appearances and logging a goal with a pair of assists. He has helped create many of the team’s most dangerous chances with his accurate passing and his loss would surely be detrimental to the club’s play.
But, it seems Kranjčar has been enjoying his time with the New York side.
“I’ve said it from the first day; I love it here,” he recently told reporters after the Cosmos home win against Carolina. “The way it’s set up, I did sign for the Spring Season. At the end of the day, I will have to sit down with the people here and see if they want me or if it’s a good fit, good combination.”
“I must say I love it here. It’s a great team, great soccer club,” he continued. “I think there’s talent on the team and I’m really enjoying my time here.”
Kranjčar is only signed through the 10-game spring season, to the tune of $250,000 according to Northern Pitch. With the Cosmos spring season drawing to a close on June 4th at Fort Lauderdale, he could potentially join Rangers on a free transfer, an absolute bargain for them. One has to wonder if fans see him return for the Fall Season or even Open Cup action in mid-June.
Cosmos COO Erik Stover was very clear about the club’s desires in regards to the player.
“Of course we want him to stay,” Stover recently told TICC on our podcast. “We want to keep him. I think he wants to stay and we’ve got to try to work out contract terms. That’s something I hope we can get serious about in the next couple of weeks.”
If this does become serious, you have to wonder what wins out: the affection for his new club, or a chance to play top-flight football in Europe again?
TICC has reached out to the Cosmos for comment.