This week Walter Smith claimed that Rangers needed to “take a gamble” in the
transfer market and risk going into debt to catch up with Celtic at the summit
of the Scottish Premiership. But with Old Firm rivals sitting pretty 20 points
clear at the top of the table and 1/1000 favourites to lift the title, Mark
Warburton was wise to say that the Gers would not be reckless this January. The
current manager has taken the right stance here, but is he looking towards next
season when Rangers should be challenging Celtic for first place?
A lot of Rangers fans are getting
pretty fed up with Warbs. Not only did he make some terrible signings in the
summer that have all since been failures, he doesn’t seem to be looking at the
current situation and making plans for the future either. Instead, he has
acquired a few loan players including Emerson Hyndman and Jon Toral, in what
can only be construed as an effort to keep the side ticking over. Rangers are
8/15 with Betway to clinch the second spot this season anyway.
Shouldn’t the hierarchy be looking to sign players that could make an impact in
the years ahead?
It seems Smith and Warburton have
completely opposing stances on the current situation. Although many fans will
be pleased with the instant rise to the upper echelons of the league after only
just being promoted, Smith knows that Rangers supporters won’t be content with
second best for long. This season the title is out of reach, and Rangers have
been bested by Celtic all the way. But in the next campaign, the Light Blues
will be expected to challenge until the bitter end.
buy players that can only be described as “past it” confused and upset a lot of
fans. Joey Barton, an average midfielder at best, was the marquee signing. The
34-year-old made 6 appearances for the club before being ousted and has to go
down as one of the worst acquisitions in Rangers’ history. Philippe Senderos,
considered by some as up there amongst the poorest Arsenal players of the
Premier League era, has only made 2 appearances for the Ibrox club this term
after a dire start to the campaign. Jordan Rossiter was earmarked for his
strong potential, but he has only been afforded 3 starts in the league. Fans
don’t want careless business like this again, but they also don’t want
Warburton to shy away from signing players in January.
transfer budget than Rangers, their spending was a lot more astute. Rossiter
cost Rangers £250,000 and has barely been used. In comparison, Moussa Dembele
was signed to Celtic Park for £500,000, which in footballing terms isn’t a
great deal more. The 20-year-old has scored 9 goals and made 4 assists (see
video below) this season, and has attracted interest from top clubs in Europe. Under contract with Celtic until
2020, the young striker is sure to be sold for an enormous markup in the
These are the kind of additions that
Rangers should be aiming to bring on board, and Warburton said: “My personal
opinion is that, from where this club has been, it important that it builds
strong, solid financial foundations.” This is a fair point after the last few
years of turmoil, but it doesn’t really explain the decision to sign loan
players this month.
If Warburton doesn’t make some clever
moves soon that are designed to benefit Rangers in the long term, the calls for
his dismissal will get louder. This season second place will have to do, but
come August, Rangers need to have a side assembled that is capable of toppling
their old enemies.