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Americans Abroad: Polster, Gutman trials in Scotland take Old Firm turn

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The tale of a pair of Chicago Fire products taking their talents to Scotland has taken an interesting turn.

Steven Gerrard brought Matt Polster and Andrew Gutman to Rangers for a trial in December, and was said to be hopeful of signing both. Polster was reported as the less likely to leave the United States, but is now said to be negotiating with the Glaswegian outfit.

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The same report, from The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio, says Rangers’ bitter rivals at Celtic have pulled into pole position to sweep left back Gutman out from under them.

There’s something interesting here aside from Gutman choosing Celtic over his initial trial club Rangers, two of the fiercest rivals in the world: The 22-year-old Fire academy product isn’t as highly viewed by Chicago as he is by several other MLS sides, Celtic, and the league itself.

From The Athletic:

Sources say the Fire initially offered Gutman a minimum-value contract and that Chicago has been shopping the left back’s homegrown rights within the league. Sources indicate MLS has upped the offer to Gutman in order to try to keep him in the league, and there is interest from multiple teams within MLS. Gutman is mulling both offers, but sources indicate he is leaning toward going overseas with Celtic.

So… it’ll be a little alarming for Fire supporters, an already beleaguered bunch, if Gutman turns out to be a starter for Celtic (or another European club) and Chicago simply offered the minimum to keep him.

Gutman won the MAC Hermann Trophy as the best player in college soccer this season, and left back has been a perennial question for the USMNT. That said, the top-heavy Scottish Premiership may be a physical grind, but isn’t a guarantee to be a better testing ground than Major League Soccer. It’s certainly a better gateway to Europe, though.

Bournemouth’s Defoe inks 18-month loan deal with Rangers

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Could Jermain Defoe swing the Scottish Premiership title race to the side of the Glasgow Rangers?

Bournemouth announced the veteran striker’s loan on Sunday after weeks of speculation, and manager Steven Gerrard is thrilled to bring the fellow and former English national team striker to the Ibrox Stadium.

[ REPORT: Mourinho turns down job ]

The 36-year-old hasn’t scored in 254 minutes this season, only 21 of which came in the Premier League. He scored four times last season after bagging 30 combined PL goals for Sunderland in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

Defoe last place in a league similar to Scotland when he joined Toronto FC in 2014, scoring 11 times in 19 matches for the Reds. Provided he’s not totally lost his game, it could be possible he puts up a similar strike rate for Gerrard’s men.

The majority of Defoe’s 57 caps came during Gerrard’s time with England, so there’s going to be a solid bond there, and his leadership should further help 22-year-old Alfredo Morales find consistency.

Rangers snap barren run with controlling Old Firm Derby win

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If you know a Rangers supporter, there’s an easy explanation for the pep in their step this Saturday.

The blue side of Glasgow is glowing after a league win for the first time since March 25, 2012, as Rangers dominated disorganized Celtic to the tune of a 1-0 win in the Old Firm Derby at the Ibrox Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: Americans to Celtic, Rangers? ]

Ryan Jack scored the lone goal, and it will have deeply satisfied Rangers fans on its journey through the legs of hated Celtic captain Scott Brown.

Celtic have a match in hand on Rangers, with both teams on 42 points atop the table, though the Bhoys’ fourth loss matches their total for all of last season.

It’s the first old firm loss for Brendan Rodgers as Celtic boss. Rangers last won any competition over Rangers in penalties during the Scottish Cup semifinal in 2016.

Reports: USMNT’s Weah visits Celtic; Gutman, Polster offered Rangers deals

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As the Old Firm rages this morning, Rangers and Celtic are in the news with some very American subjects.

Celtic’s links with Paris Saint-Germain and USMNT youngster Timothy Weah are quite real.

[ REPORT: Pulisic to Chelsea ]

Weah opted to stay at PSG for the first half of the season under new manager Thomas Tuchel, but has not been in the squad since scoring two goals in three appearances to open the season.

Such is the problem for forwards at the Parc des Princes.

Brendan Rodgers gave a lowdown on the 18-year-old’s recent visit to Scotland ahead of a possible loan for the rest of the season. From Sky Sports:

“He had a great day here. We have good relations with PSG, so he came over. He sent me a lovely message afterwards, thanking everyone and saying he enjoyed it, so we will see.

“PSG clearly want him to go on loan to get experience. He is a good kid, a great boy and a great profile in terms of his game.”

Weah would have a chance to toughen up in the contact-heavy Scottish Premiership, and could just find himself staring across the Old Firm Derby field at a couple of fellow Americans in Andrew Gutman and Matt Polster.

The Scottish Daily Record reported Saturday that Rangers have offered deals to the Chicago Fire products after a trial in Glasgow. The report says Gutman will accept if given a work permit, while Polster is trying to decide whether to make the jump overseas.

Gerrard taking long look at U.S. players Polster, Gutman

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A pair of American full backs are on trial with Steven Gerrard‘s Glasgow Rangers, and could be joining the club soon if they impress the boss.

The players in question are versatile Chicago Fire veteran Matt Polster, 25, and Indiana University senior Andrew Gutman, a potential Homegrown player for the Fire.

[ MORE: Weds. League Cup preview]

Gerrard spoke of both on Tuesday, mentioning the good impression Polster made on him while both were in Major League Soccer. From The Daily Mail:

“I know one of them because I played against him in MLS – Matt Polster, who played for Chicago Fire and who I know is a good player.

“Andrew Gutman is from the college system and very highly thought of so we’re going to have a look at the two of them for seven or eight days. We’ll see how they do and if we like them we’ll try and do it as soon as possible.”

Polster has one cap with the USMNT and has 91 appearances as a fullback and midfielder with the Fire, though he missed most of the 2018 season with a knee injury. He’s out of contract with the Fire on New Year’s Eve.

Gutman scored 20 goals with 17 assists in 90 appearances over four years for the Hoosiers, but is viewed as a left back by Rangers.

Both are vying to become the latest American on Rangers and the first since Emerson Hyndman‘s loan to the Glaswegian outfit from Bournemouth last season. Rangers have seen USMNT stars Carlos Bocanegra, DaMarcus Beasley, Maurice Edu, and Claudio Reyna on their books.