[media-credit name=”Nikica Jelavic” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]The month of January is always a long one for the majority of people, but for Rangers fans it can drive you towards borderline insanity.
Year after year there is constant speculation that substantial bids will be coming in for Rangers top stars and on certain occasions the club have accepted these bids.
In 2008, Spurs sealed a £9m deal for Alan Hutton, despite the defender not wishing to leave Ibrox, in 2009 a bid of £4m for star striker Kris Boyd was accepted but the striker failed to agree terms and this January Kenny Miller was allowed to leave for Turkey for a paltry £400,000.
Next month will be no different and the Rangers player at the centre of a bidding war will be Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic. In the summer, Leicester had a bid of £6.5m turned down whilst Rangers were also said to have turned down a £9m bid from an unknown club on the final day of the transfer window.
English Premiership clubs Swansea, West Brom and Liverpool have also expressed an interest in the man currently sitting at the top of the SPL scoring charts, with Kenny Dalglish in particular keen to sign the striker.
But I sincerely hope come the evening of January 31st Nikica Jelavic will still be wearing the colours of Rangers. As I state in the headline, I feel Rangers simply can’t win the title without him.
He has more than repaid his £4m fee Rangers paid for him last summer with a tally of 28 goals in just 40 appearances.
With Steven Naismith ruled out for the season, Jelavic is the man Rangers will rely on to fire them to four in a row. There is simply no one else in my eyes who can step up to the plate.
Kyle Lafferty is far too inconsistent. David Healy is past his sell by date and Kane Hemmings is as yet unproven at the top-level.
If Rangers sell Jelavic, they may well not have enough time to buy a replacement, if McCoist is given the funds to find a replacement that is. This is a situation that simply must not happen.
Look across at our rivals in the East End and they have strikers in abundance. Their first choice pairing of Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes are firing at the moment, even the much maligned Georgios Samaras has performed well in recent games. The club also have Mo Bangura returning from injury and are once again looking at signing Baba Diawara from Maritimo.
It’s not just the amount of goals that Jelavic scores is important, it’s the amount of important goals he has provided Rangers with over the last couple of seasons.
You just have to look at Saturday’s match against Hibs at Easter Road. Jelavic was the one who held his nerve from the spot and then bulleted home a header to seal another vital three points for Ally McCoist’s men.
Towards the end of last season when every win was necessary, Jelavic delivered the goods in consecutive games against Hamilton and Aberdeen.
At New Douglas Park he struck a fantastic free-kick whilst at Pittodrie he scored arguably the goal of the season, a stunning over head-kick. Both these goals were winners. And of course the Croatian also scored the winner in last season’s League Cup Final to help overcome Celtic 2-1.
There are other major players at Rangers who I wouldn’t want to see sold as well such as Steve Davis and Allan McGregor, but in those positions Rangers have some very decent back-up.
I really hope Jelavic is still leading Rangers charge to four in a row. The thought of Kyle Lafferty or Kane Hemmings doing so would make for a very bad start to 2012.