With the takeover deal at Rangers dragging on, and with numbers being thrown at the media of £9 million being given to manager-in-waiting Ally McCoist to strengthen the Ibrox side in the summer, the question must be asked is £9 million enough?
Madjid Bougherra has come out and stated that he wants a fresh challenge away from Ibrox, with a move to England possibly on the cards in the summer. Now with the Algerian on the way out, how much would Rangers get for him? Bougherra has one year left on his contract but he will not command a massive transfer fee, no matter who comes in for him.[singlepic id=941 w=320 h=240 float=center]
The likes of Arsenal and Liverpool have been linked with the defender today, as have a number of clubs in Qatar and Turkey. But none of these clubs will pay over the odds for a player that has plied his trade in the SPL for the past three years. At most Rangers could receive around £3 million for the defender if they are lucky. However a major issue that would have an impact on what price he goes for, is the takeover of Rangers. If the takeover does not happen, then Bougherra would be sold for a lower than normal price, a decision that will be out of the hands of the Rangers board. If the takeover happens before the end of the season, then Bougherra would go for around £3 million. But one thing is clear Rangers will cash in on Bougherra during the summer.
Bougherra’s defensive partner David Weir should not be in a Rangers shirt next season. It is simple as that. This season he has been found out by some strikers and in my opinion is possibly stayed at Rangers a season too long. But that’s not taking away the magnitude of his influence on the team both on and off the park. He is a model professional and is a great advertisement for keeping yourself fit, but for SPL and European Football he is too much of a risk. His lack of pace prevents the team from keeping a high defensive line, and limits them to sitting back deep to protect the gap between the back four and the keeper. The Rangers captain is in his final few months of his Rangers contract and once it finishes he should be thanked and possibly handed a coaching role at the club before the likes of Everton step in and secure his services.
So straight away that is two First Team stalwarts that need to be replaced. What does an SPL quality defender cost at the moment in time – £2 Million? What does a European quality defender cost – £4-5 million?
Rangers did great business in securing first Carlos Cuellar and then Madjid Bougherra, but with a limited wage structure in force at Ibrox, the club will struggle to find a quality defender to come up to the SPL. Look at the struggles that rivals Celtic have had trying to strengthen their defence, and Celtic are still offering more for wages than Rangers can at the present time.
A third change in defence will be Sasa Papac who has rejected an offer of a new contract also. The defender is the ONLY positive from the disastrous Paul Le Guen era at Ibrox and has made the Left Back position his own, despite him being a Central Defender.
And the fourth loss is the departure of defender Richard Foster back to Aberdeen after his loan deal finishes this season. The versatile player’s contract at Pittodrie ends in 2013, and with Craig Brown impressed with his performances for Rangers this season, he will do everything he can to keep the player on the books of the Pittodrie side. His own success at Rangers could prove the major factor in his future, with Aberdeen looking for more money than what he was actually worth before he left for Ibrox on loan. So you would expect him to be for sale in the amount of £1.5 million, if Aberdeen want to sell him that is. But with Steven Whittaker available to fill the right-back slot, then Foster’s loss may not be as significant as the other three defensive departures. But the lack of cover is still a major factor.
So in total FOUR defenders will leave Ibrox this summer, all First Team regulars both in Europe and in the SPL. For any team it is a major hit, but with a club like Rangers and the financial issues that the club has it is a huge dent in their squad. How much do four SPL quality defenders cost? How much do four European quality defenders cost?
One possible signing could be Brazilian defender Douglao. He currently plies his trade with Greek side Kavala, and is in the final year of his contract. But with a transfer fee of around £1.5 million, the likes of Panathinaikos and Olympiakos are sniffing around the 6ft 4 defender, who has been named as one of the best defenders in Greece this season.
On top of the four departures from defence, Rangers will also see five players leave from midfield and up front in total. Kyle Bartley has already returned to Arsenal following his season-ending injury, while Vladimir Weiss, could be set to miss the remainder of the season also through injury, will return to Manchester City at the end of his loan deal.
While Bartley has impressed during his short time at Ibrox, Weiss on the other hand has been hit and miss. Both players would command at least a fee of £2 million each, however Arsenal and Manchester City don’t need to sell either player or if they do they won’t do so on the cheap. Would they return on loan again? I doubt it very much.
Then we have Salim Kerkar. Who? You may ask. Exactly the player has been non-existent other than a name on the bench. The player has not taken to the pitch at all for the Rangers First Team since he signed back in November 2010. And with that statistic, his hope of securing a longer deal at the club has no chance.
Like Kerkar another player who has no hope of securing a deal at Rangers is on loan striker David Healy. The man may be a Rangers supporter and has sections of the Rangers support pump out their chest when they think of his ‘flute mimicking’ in a friendly against Celtic a number of years ago, he has provided very little to Rangers as a player. He has played five games for Rangers since his move on loan in January, scoring only one goal back in February in the 6-0 demolition of Motherwell in the league. Can any Rangers fan defend him and claim that he deserves to be offered a permanent deal with the club?[singlepic id=978 w=320 h=240 float=center]
And last but not least is El Hadji Diouf. While he said all the right things in the first few weeks of his time at Rangers, wanting to stay at the Ibrox club beyond his loan deal, the on loan Blackburn player now wants a move to French Football according to comments made to French broadcaster Canal+.
The loss of Diouf, Kerkar, Healy, Weiss and Bartley takes the number of departures at Ibrox in the summer to NINE players. Nine players who are First Team members, with seven classed as First Team regulars and two as squad players.
Rangers will welcome back James Beattie, who is currently on loan at Blackburn, but the player produced nothing in the first months of his Rangers career, where he played 10 games and scored no goals. Five months later he was farmed out to Premier League new boys Blackpool, where he has played six games and scored none. His signing mirrors that of Sebo who played 24 games for Rangers and scored only two goals. Both players were signed for a similar fee, and both provided nothing to Rangers other than cult status for opposition fans to cheer at when they came onto the pitch. Rangers would be better off getting rid of him during the summer, rather than paying his over inflated wages for no return at all.
In total [if Beattie does leave]then Rangers would lose TEN players, with very little in return. And if Bougherra does leave for £3 million, there is no guarantee that Ally McCoist will receive that £3 million for a transfer kitty.
So with a total of 18 First Team squad players at McCoist’s disposal – 8 of those are young players such as Gregg Wylde, Jamie Ness, Andrew Little and John Fleck – Is it a squad that can challenge for the SPL title and compete in Europe? With no signings then the answer is simple Rangers could not. Rangers must strengthen in the summer there is no ifs or buts about it, if they don’t then they could kiss goodbye to the SPL title next season.
So the question posed, is £9 million enough to strengthen a side that is set to lose up to ten first team squad members?
In Modern Football, £9 million would buy you one Nikica Jelavic, one Kyle Lafferty plus one James Beattie.
The club scouts Neil Murray and John Brown, have already been trawling the market for potential new signings, with defensive options their main priority. But as ever money is the major commodity and at this moment in time Rangers don’t know if they will have anything to spend on players let alone the £5 million or £9 million [depending on who you listen too] promised by potential owner Craig Whyte. But one thing is clear the scouts have the most important job during the summer. Even more important than Ally McCoist’s transition from Assistant Manager to Manager.
What players do you think Rangers should go for? Realistic signings that is folks.