Name – Petar Ratkov
Age – 19
Nationality – Serbian
Position – Striker
Club – Bačka Topola
Standing at 6’4 Petar Ratkov literally is the next big thing to come out of Serbian football. He’s been earning plaudits in his homeland for showing the potential to be a player who can challenge Mitrovic for a starting spot in the national team in the coming years. At only nineteen there is plenty of room to grow for him but the foundations are all there, he just needs some more experience to sharpen up the tools in his arsenal.
A player who shows intelligence above his age when it comes to making runs and his positioning within the box, he knows where he needs to be and that is something which is difficult to coach. Take Morelos for example, he isn’t always where you expect your main striker to be but that isn’t the case with Ratkov, more often than not he’s exactly where he needs to be.
Again, similar to Morelos when he first arrived at Ibrox he is very raw, but he has all the tools to be a player who will reach the highest level and just needs the correct coaching to help him polish off those skills. That is why the mental maturity is such a positive aspect at this age, something Morelos still struggles with now, he just needs to improve his technical ability to match and he will be an incredible asset to whichever club he ends up at.
Ratkov is capable of scoring all different kinds of goals and is confident with both feet. He is also very imposing in the air, his 6’4 frame probably helps with that, which means he’s a different option to what Rangers currently have.
Don’t let the height fool you though, he isn’t tall and clumsy, he’s very comfortable with the ball at feet and not afraid to attempt to take on defenders. A good turn of pace helps his ability to get away from the defence, coupled with the intelligence he posses he is a player who will get chances with the right players behind him. He’s someone players like Cantwell and Raskin will love as he’s always looking to break beyond defenders and get in behind, which is unusual for a player of his size.
He loves to get stuck in and thrives off of defenders trying to bully him, showing the ability to turn them with the ball and the strength to outmuscle then without it.
Despite currently performing under his xG it’s clear to see the potential in this diamond in the rough. His height combined with pace, power and decent ability on the ball will make him a nightmare for defenders. In this Rangers side he would get plenty of chances and if he continues improving at the rate he already is could be a player that provides the type of numbers Antonio Colak is currently.
Interest in Ratkov is already high with Anderlecht, Parma and New York City all having bids rejected in January as Bačka Topola were looking for closer to £2m. If the price is still around that level in the summer then Rangers should definitely be taking the gamble here. Capable of being a player that defenders fear along with being a clinical goal scorer, he is one that Rangers should swoop in for quickly, before interest in him ramps up even further.