Rangers Transfer Business. Some Perspective.

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So as the window is about to close in Scotland after what has been a very busy summer transfer window I thought I’d write a few thoughts on the window that was.

Before we start for those who don’t know me I am a huge fan of Mark Warburton and what he has brought to Rangers in a very short period of time. Sometimes it’s worth looking back to fully appreciate what you actually have right now. The gaffer has built expectation and hope in a very short period of time. It’s easy to forget the utter mess of a team he inherited from Mr McCoist and co. The sub standard players we had being paid a handsome wage for a lot of badge thumping, soundbites and not much else.

In 12 months the gaffer changed Rangers to a free flowing fast thinking football team. We won the Championship at a canter and should really have won the Scottish Cup (before the Royal Rumble happened) We maybe take it for granted that a team that spent peanuts (albeit on the 2nd highest wages in Scotland) completely transformed what was served up at Ibrox every other Saturday.

This summer saw the majority of the McCoist fiasco cleansed from the club. Templeton, Law, Shiels, Clark, Bell etc. were thanked for their services and sent on their way. Shaving a pretty penny from the wage bill in the course of doing so.

This summer has seen 11 new arrivals. Frank McParland and his team have worked to bring in the players that the gaffers wanted to move Rangers to the next level. What was I expecting this summer? Honestly? I have no idea. my expectations have been tempered in recent years mainly with what we have had to endure. But I still wanted Rangers to be competitive in the top flight. I watched though as McParland did deals like £440,000 for James Tavernier & Martyn Waghorn and started to get excited about this summer and what was possible.

I must add at this point that I think Dave King has not really helped the expectation of this process this summer at all. I am a fan of Dave King and wanted him at the club for a long time. But I have had enough of  the soundbites to last me a lifetime. The comments regarding his ‘Children’s inheritance’ and figures of ‘£30 million’ and spending ‘whatever it takes’ were neither needed or helpful. It has created a stick for the press of Scotland and beyond to beat him with. Did I expect millions? No. I didn’t. But King’s remarks made me think again about what I expected. As an aside I’d prefer King just to be like the rest of the board and say nothing. Just go about the job of getting Rangers back where we belong. The top of the game in Scotland.

Anyway as the business this summer started I was happy early doors with the recruitment of Matt Crooks and Josh Windass. Prudent signings and in the case of Windass a player that was coveted elsewhere. I love the chat from Warburton of giving these young boys the platform to play in front of worldwide audiences in front of 51,000 every other week and grow as players. Eventually being sold on at a profit to the club. I like that. On a smaller scale it’s what we did with the likes of Gio back in the day. I have friends who were team mates of Crooks. When they played with him he was a centre half. They said he was rotten. Then when he moved to Accrington and played centre midfield the same team mate said they could not believe how good he was. So I look forward to him coming in.

The signing of Joey Barton was a statement for me. And I was initially delighted. He has grown as a player and as a human being. He has played deeper as his legs have started to go but last season in the Championship was standout. I have to admit my early views have been less than favourable. He clearly has a target on him and already there have been 2 straight red cards for some no marks at wee clubs trying to ‘do him’. But I haven’t seen him bossing a game the way I thought he would. He appears to have players walk past him in most games and I’ve been surprised how poor he has looked truth be told. He will be given time but I expect more.

Niko Kranjcar got the juices flowing I must admit. In his day in the EPL he was one of my favourite players. I was astounded he was only 31 years old. I can see his ability. Technically you could argue he is the best player in Scotland. Sadly right now he is maybe 60% fit? Defensively he offers nothing and he is looking very slow just now. His pass and touch are exquisite. His vision and shooting are also impressive. But can we afford the luxury that he is? Maybe if we get the right 2 players next to him maybe he can be. I really hope he is.

Clint Hill I really can’t get my head around. at 38 years of age and well thought of by the QPR fans he just seems done. I was at the first game of the season and saw first hand Clint Hill looked stunned at just what was happening around him. I think you can either play for Rangers or you can’t. Maybe we are just too far out of his comfort zone he has been used to it.

Lee Hodson has come in from MK Dons with pretty much no fanfare but being honest I have really liked him. A member of the Euro 2016 Northern Ireland squad he looks a capable defend first defender. NIP000254498303_2952642a.jpg

Jordan Rossiter I love. The England U19 Captain to me has stood out a mile. Strong in the tackle. Always showing for the ball and quick moving it. Frank McParland clearly worked his magic on this one and I love everything about his signing. Let him continue his education and let us sell him at a profit in 3/4 years. For me he would be the first midfielder on the team sheet.

Joe Dodoo has come in and is clearly a project. Very fast but very raw. Not sure whether he will end up a striker or a winger but again at a relatively small investment is probably a risk worth taking. He makes intelligent runs but his touch and decision making will need work. As I say an impact player from the bench is probably his place just now.

Matt Gilks is an experienced safe pair of hands who will deputise for the much improved Wes Foderingham.

Joe Garner has been Rangers biggest outlay at £1.5 million. I only really know what the Preston fans have said about him but I saw enough in his debut to see he will be an asset. He will work hard and do the dirty work as a striker. I hope he goes on to impress. He will have to for the outlay we have made.

So with the recruitment covered I still have some reservations.

The last season showed us that whilst we are an expansive football team our defence is the stuff of nightmares. So many times in the Championship teams made chances and didn’t take them. But each time Twitter and the stands would be shouting ‘we won’t get away with that at a higher level’ and it appears to have fallen on deaf ears. The Scottish Cup Final alone highlighted just how poor we are defensively. As Anthony Stokes walked through the middle of Hampden it laid bare the problems we have. I don’t feel personally that we have addressed that. I’d go as far to say that the defensive frailties we have will be the main catalyst in us not being able to win the premier league this season. For me as soon as the season ended we should have looked at the spine of the team and where we needed to strengthen. I was hopeful with Davie Weir as assistant this would have been looked at. Instead we gave Rob Kiernan a new deal and signed 38 year old Clint Hil. That’s it? It isn’t enough. Signing Senderos today at the 11th hour won’t change that. I hope I’m proven wrong but we are just too vulnerable at the back.

In addition to this the main dynamic of our play last season was the tempo we played at. With the likes of Holt & Halliday pressing play and winning the ball back repeatedly. The arrival of Barton ( and Kranjcar ) has seen the midfield set up deeper and lose that dynamic. The midfield 3 is something that needs fixed as a matter of urgency. I also feel we miss Jason Holt in the hole behind the strikers. Kenny Miller has already chipped in with vital goals but if Garner is to be our main man up top Miller must only be used as a substitute. He doesn’t have the pace or touch of someone who can play on the wing.

Finally we create so many chances yet our conversion rate seems so poor. Again as the team settles hopefully that will change. But if you look at our shooting outside the box and when in on goal we are not definitive enough in our finishing. This needs fixed. This will take composure from the players.

We have a squad now that is better than what we had 12 months ago. And I believe we have a more than capable first 11 when everyone is fit. My main fear is the defence and the signing of Senderos has not changed that. I feel the management team have been neglectful in this facet of the transfer window. But at the same time if I take a step back and breath I realise Rangers have come so far in such a short time. Mistakes will be made but we are on the right track. Do I think we can win the league this season? Unlikely. But if we can establish ourselves in 2nd place and do well in the cups it will be more than enough for me. We have signed a new team. Lets give them the time they need. The board have done well by us, all the while why we make about 50p from retail operations and the money continues to come out the boards pockets directly. The battles continue off the field as they do on it. The Cup Final ruling is for another day as I have utter contempt for the people running our game, It appears Rangers players are less important to the powers that be than the advertising hoardings…. As I say for another day.

In conclusion. Rangers are going in the right direction. There is a lot to improve. But I believe we’ll get there.

Patience Bears.

 

Thanks for Reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Rangers Transfer Business. Some Perspective.”

  1. Alan Crookston Says:

    Great piece

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