New Rangers signing Lassana Coulibaly is excited to team up with Steven Gerrard after completing his move from Angers.
The 22-year-old midfielder has joined the club in a season-long loan deal, subject to international clearance, and could make his debut in Thursday’s Europa League opener.
Coulibaly can still be added to Gerrard’s squad ahead of the clash against Macedonian outfit Shkupi – midnight on Wednesday is the deadline – after he completed a protracted move from Ligue 1 side Angers.
The Mali international has been capped 10 times by his country and will bolster Gerrard’s midfield, and he admits the lure of playing for the former England captain was too good to turn down.
“I am very happy to be here,” he told Rangers TV. “When my agent told me Steven Gerrard was the manager, I said ‘no problem’ and I am happy to come and join this team.
“The manager can help me to develop my football and he is someone who I watched when he was at Liverpool.
“I spoke to him when I was in Mali and he asked me if I wanted to join his team, and I said yes, although I was worried it wasn’t actually Gerrard (on the phone)!”
Coulibaly is the eighth person to arrive at Ibrox this summer after Allan McGregor, Jon Flanagan, Scott Arfield, Jamie Murphy, Connor Goldson, Nikola Katic and Ovie Ejaria all joined earlier in the window.
There is expected to be further business with Roma striker Umar Sadiq closing in on a move to Glasgow as Gerrard finalises his squad for his first management job in senior football.
Despite admitting his new manager was the driving force behind making the move, Coulibaly is aware of the size of Rangers and their Old Firm rivalry.
He said: “Rangers are a good team and I knew the name before Gerrard came in. I know the team are in the Europa League and I know there is a big rivalry with Celtic.”
On his own style of play, Coulibaly, who made 22 appearances for Angers last season, added: “I am a midfielder and I am physically strong. I like to try and go and win the ball back for my team.
“I want to do something here and in years to come, the fans will talk about it.
“I think playing for a big team is nice as everyone wants to play for the big teams.”