STEVEN GERRARD insists it was the sight of Lasanna Coulibaly shackling the superstars of Paris St-Germain which convinced him to bring the midfield destroyer to Rangers.
The Ibrox boss has landed the Mali international on a one-year loan deal from French outfit Angers.
And Gerrard admits he expects big things of the 22-year-old after seeing him frustrate the likes of Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe last season.
Coulibaly took on a string of World Cup aces when his parent club faced up to big-spending PSG in March and it was his battling display in a 2-1 defeat which confirmed to Gerrard he was just the man to add some steel to his new-look Gers line-up.
“He’s a destroyer-type of midfielder and is very different to what we have here,” said the new Light Blues boss.
“He’s played at a top level over in France and I watched numerous games over 90 minutes but the game that he really impressed me in was against Paris St-Germain.
“He was up against world-class players but broke play up and kept the ball really simple, doing a really excellent job for the team.
“So he’s one I’ve had an eye on for a while and we want to get him up to speed – fit and physically ready as he’s had a long summer off – as soon as possible.
“But already today in training he looked sharp. He did exactly what I thought he would. He broke up play, was aggressive and snapped into tackles. He’s physically strong and will add a bit of power in the engine room for us.”
Coulibaly checked into Ibrox on Tuesday, as did Roma youngster Umar Sidiq.
The Nigerian frontman had to head out to Dutch outfit NAC Breda last term after finding his path to the first-team action blocked in the Eternal City.
But Gerrard hopes Rangers can help the 21-year-old show just how good he is.
“First and foremost he’s a talent,” said the former Liverpool skipper. “He’s a player with huge potential and I think he’s looking for the next stage to take his career to the next level.
“He’s done fantastically well in Holland but he’s one of many boys at top football clubs around the world who find it very hard to make the breakthrough.
“So instead of staying at that club and suffering by not playing games, the likes of Rangers can grab these boys and give them a platform to perform on.
“Now it’s over to Umar to keep learning and growing, then force his way into the team.”
Millwall defender Jake Cooper could become Gerrard’s 10th signing of the summer if Rangers succeed with a £3million offer.
And the Ibrox boss hinted that may conclude his rebuilding work for the time being.
He said: “We’re nearly there. There’s no number on it but we’ll be there when I see the team is strong enough to compete against the best sides domestically and in the Europa League.”