ALLAN McGregor’s Rangers future is now settled after the 40-year-old signed a new one year contract ahead of the new season. Robby McCrorie meanwhile is reportedly keen to leave and will be out of contract next summer. So, of the three goalkeepers who turned out for Rangers in the 21/22 season, just one has a sealed long-term future, that being Jon McLaughlin, who recently extended his stay at Rangers for two years. This means that it's almost certain that at some point in the near future, the club will be dipping into the market for a new keeper.

Vladan Kovacevic was linked a few weeks back. He would be a fantastic signing. I touted him as a McGregor replacement for the Rangers Review as early as December 2021. The most recent murmurs concern 22-year-old Turkish goalkeeper Berke Ozer, who has just become a free agent after failing to extend terms at Fenerbahce. Anderlecht has also been touted as a potential destination, so let’s examine whether these rumours are something to be excited about or a nugget of news that is best ignored.


Ozer grew up in Turkey’s third city, Izmir. He is one of many top-level talents whose skills were refined at the famed Altinordu academy cutting his teeth in the TFF 1. Lig, before making the switch to Fenerbahce for just over £2 million in the summer of 2018.

Ozer spent a single season turning out for the Fenerbahce Under-19 side, before signing a loan deal with Belgian outfit Westerlo which eventually turned into a successful two-year loan stint. Since then he returned to Fenerbahce as back-up to the fantastic Altay Bayindir, and he was used extensively in the 21/22 campaign as Bayindir fell victim to a nasty injury at the turn of the year. Ozer has a fairly average build for a goalkeeper, standing at 191cm and not carrying much muscle on his frame, in part due to his youth no doubt. He is right-footed and right-handed, using both as his primary distribution weapons, though his left side is fine, nothing overly-concerning nor impressive.

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Below we can see a statistical review of Ozer’s 2020/21 season at Westerlo, which has proved to be his best season to date. His radar fills out nicely with a particular strength when it comes to shot-stopping and sweeping activities. Overall he ranked as the league’s second-best goalkeeper, albeit the sample size is small. This should have proved to be the ideal launching pad for a triumphant return to Fenerbahce, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

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As mentioned early, Ozer spent a decent amount of time between the sticks, racking up more minutes than McLaughlin did this season. Ozer ranked as the worst goalkeeper in the Super Lig. The only statistical continuity came with his sweeping activities, which remained above average.

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Below we can see Ozer’s rolling 10-game over and underperformance of expected goals, with the yellow peaks representing overperformance and the blue underperformance, with the numbers on the Y-axis showing the extent. Ozer has primarily underperformed the model, with some really concerning patches of underperformance, rarely reciprocated with stable overperformance. Important to note is the abrupt cutoff; Ozer hasn't played a minute since February, which coincided with Bayindir’s return to fitness.

Rangers Review:

Natural Reflexes

Bailing Him Out Ozer’s most outstanding strength is his reflexes. He makes the saves you don't expect and is excellent at stopping close-range shots, much like McGregor. Below is a great example of this; here, we see him position himself in front of the Gaziantep striker’s shot, who indeed must have thought his effort was net-bound. He has a good natural feel for where angles and the decision process of strikers when close to goal. He is nimble and quick on his feet, which allows him to make impromptu corrections. Still, he places himself well, for the most part, meaning that these corrections are limited.

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We can see another example of this below, again coming from a delivery from out-wide. Here the Afyonspor forward finds space just in front of the penalty spot and is played aerially. He strikes it well; however, Ozer has placed himself appropriately and can get a strong hand and tip it over the bar, despite the power and placement of the shot.

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Berke’s reflexes and show-stopping stops let him out of jail often, much like McGregor.

One-v-one troubles

I just mentioned Berke’s fantastic reflexes, so you would expect that this skill would be transferable to one-v-ones and that he would be a strong option in these scenarios; sadly, that would be wrong. His reflexes, on occasion, allow him to save and stop shots that he really shouldn’t. Still, he does commit several cardinal sins that limit his efficacy.

The No.1 problem is his tendency to find himself in no-man’s land. In the image below, we can see that Ozer has left his line but fails to fully commit and finds himself in an area where his effect on the shooter is limited, and his ability and time to track the ball are also minimal.

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Ozer needs to commit and do so earlier, either stay on his line and play a reactive role or proactively charge down the forward. A final concern of his is the width of his legs when he does rush out. Often his legs are placed so wide that the obvious avenue for a goal is an easy nutmeg, with many forwards doing so.

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Struggles with Long Shots

Ozer struggles to track long shots, surprising as his ability to predict and react to shots close to goal is excellent. Ozer’s concerns in one-v-one situations extend to long shots, as he is neither a fully active nor reactive force, often looking confused or unconvincing when dealing with them. A great example can be seen below, coming from a match against Sivasspor.

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Here, the Sivasspor free-kick taker decides to shoot instead of crossing the ball. However, Ozer is so transfixed on the pack around the penalty area that he fails to react early enough, with the ball sailing into the net, whilst Ozer is nowhere to be seen, left embarrassed. In other examples, Ozer fails to track the ball well, with his hands failing to make contact. It often appears that either his eyes aren’t working correctly or his arms are awfully short; regardless of which you put it, neither descriptions are flattering.

Sweeping and Penalty Box Claims

Ozer’s ability and tendency to sweep and claim crosses are paradoxical. He is an effective sweeper when it comes to defensive actions. Still, he struggles when using his hands to claim crosses and too often relies on his centre-backs to do his dirty work. As mentioned in the data profile, his defensive actions remained high in both seasons, which is evident in the footage, as he does depressurise situations often by coming out and clearing his lines, something that McGregor fails to do which has largely frustrated the fanbase.

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Like his inability to leave his 6-yard box in one-v-one situations, Berke is far too static when dealing with crosses. Given his fantastic reflexes, he can often bail himself out. Still, far more likely, he fails to defuse the situation and pays the price. A great example is below; here, the Adana forward makes first contact with the ball within the six-yard box and scores; Ozer should be claiming this cross 10 times out of 10.

Rangers Review:

Even when he tries to claim high balls, his hands are weak, and he often spills them. Most often, this isn’t the end of the world as his teammates can clear the ball; however, his inconsistency can prove deadly when the jeopardy is high. Below is an example; here, he comes to claim the Antayalspor corner; even though he makes first contact, he spills the ball towards an opposition player, leaving the goal open and presenting an easy tap-in for Antalya.

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Like most modern goalkeepers, Ozer is comfortable with the ball at his feet. He is no Ederson or Alisson, though; he is a secure and consistent distributor. His preference is to play it short and build deep, which is preferred in the Rangers system, as seen in his pass map below. He maintains accuracy and consistency even when under pressure from opposition forwards but still retains his preference to play it short regardless of the situation.

Rangers Review:

With his hands, he is fairly average, which is fine as few goalkeepers earn their money from long and accurate throws; even fewer would do so at Rangers. He's certainly more comfortable and effective in possession than McGregor. His ability on the ball is similar to McLaughlin's; he's not much of an upgrade if any.

Fit and Feasibility

He may have the potential to be a no.1 at some point, but with McGregor et al in his way, that wouldn't be now. I don’t think Rangers should be the side to take a punt, even if the wages are low, the transfer fee is free and the singing-on fee is limited.