PEDRO CAIXINHA will have his work cut out this summer trying to off-load the Ibrox flops signed by former manager Mark Warburton. That is the conclusion reached by former Rangers midfielder Alex Rae.
In a damningly critical appraisal of the Ibrox club’s season Rae reckons that the current crop just aren’t up to the job of mounting a challenge to Celtic next season but understands the difficulty the new manager will have in trying to re-shape his squad over the summer.
Within the squad there are players like Kiernan, Waghorn and Wilson who have all have one year to go on their existing contracts. Harry Forrester and Joe Garner have two years to go while players such as Dodoo, Halliday, Holt, O’Halloran, Rossiter and Windass all have three years security at Rangers.
These players are all Mark Warburton signings and Rae reckons that the former Brentford manager and his chief scout Frank McParland, must take the blame for bring them to Ibrox.
‘Too many players have been under-achieving and not hitting the levels they need to reach,’ says Rae. ‘Unfortunately, they’re on high wages and long contracts. The hardest job in football is to move players on that you don’t want because their agreements tend to be water-tight.
‘Rangers’ recruitment has been poor. Warburton liked a certain type of player but Rangers players need a physical presence as well as technical ability and his signings have neither of those qualities. So the club has to make these players available and find buyers for them.
‘That’s challenging enough but it can cause more problems because, as soon as a player discovers he’s surplus to requirements, it can cause an issue in the dressing room. Paying them off is the best answer but the cost of that financial package could be considerable.
‘It will be interesting to see just how much money the manager is allowed to spend this summer. One thing is for sure, those performances and defeats against Celtic couldn’t have come at a worse time as Rangers are about to put season tickets on sale for 2017-18.’
‘You look at Celtic and at Ibrox on Saturday they had Kieran Tierney, Callum McGregor and James Forrest, who’d all come through the ranks at Lennoxtown.
‘The Rangers academy needs to start producing some stars of their own because I can’t think of one player of value who’s emerged from it.
‘You could argue a case for Lewis MacLeod, who was sold to Brentford for £850,000, but the jury’s out on him because of all of his injury problems. You certainly can’t count Barrie McKay; he joined from Kilmarnock and was then farmed out to Morton and Raith Rovers.’
‘When I spoke with Pedro it became clear that he has a method he really believes in.
‘He kept emphasising during our meeting the need to play a pressing game, but it’s all about whether he can implement that with the players he has.
‘I know from playing for the club that sometimes it’s not about football but about rolling your sleeves up and getting stuck in.
‘Rangers have dropped 11 points to Celtic this season but the real problem is the 33 points they’ve dropped to everyone else.
‘Their away record is poor, six wins out of 17 games, and that’s because they’re not strong enough, physically or mentally.’
Caixinha is reportedly aware that the board are to sanction a recruitment budget of £3.5million plus any income from transfers that can be generated.
Barry Mackay may be the first to leave the club if the Portuguese can line-up a buying willing to meet the asking price. Michael O’Halloran is interesting Hearts but it is unlikely that there will be a significant fee involved for the former St Johnstone man who cost Rangers £500,000.