Thursday, 25 May 2017

Four SPL targets (and a few others) that can reinvigorate Rangers

 Article by: Richard Fillingham

I believe that some Rangers supporters need to take a reality check with our signing ambitions in the current transfer market. It is only five years ago that we came close to being wiped out and had to build ourselves up again.

We were left bereft of experienced Rangers class players with the exception of four or five stalwarts who for one reason or another decided to stay and fight for our survival and a very inexperienced manager in Rangers scoring legend, Ally McCoist.

There were two ways things could go for us in 2012. Ally could sign decent young players with the potential to win the 3rd Division easily, which would leave them in good stead to go on and improve with experience and then to proceed to win the 2nd Division in their second season together.

Unfortunately, the worst Rangers manager in our history (McCoist in my opinion), took the wrong route by signing too many duff experienced old pros and still managed to win both leagues – what a fantastic missed opportunity – and we are still paying for that disastrous decision today.

Now we are back in the SPL and although we failed to finish 2nd in the league (which I admit was very disappointing), we have still qualified for Europe next season. In any other country that would be regarded as a major achievement but not in Scotland, where we are slammed in such a negative way by the press and other clubs. Give us some credit where it’s certainly due. Hearts were in a similar position as us and could only finish fifth behind St Johnstone.

Through the years Rangers have bought from other Scottish clubs to try and enhance our own team and at the same time, making them that bit poorer off by buying their best players. It may be time to buy some local talent who have shown that they can succeed at other SPL clubs if given a chance. Here are some of our past successes (of varying degrees):

Davy Cooper (Clydebank), Alex McDonald (St Johnstone), Colin Stein (Hibernian), 
Richard Gough (Dundee United & Spurs), Jim Baxter (Raith Rovers), Jim Bett (Aberdeen), Ally McCoist (St Johnstone & Sunderland), Peter McCloy (Motherwell), Andy Goram (Hibernian), Theo Snelders (Aberdeen), Bobby Shearer (Hamilton Accies), Ian McMillan (Airdrie), George McLean (St Mirren), Dave Smith (Aberdeen), Andy Penman (Dundee), Tom Forsyth (Motherwell), Örjan Persson (Dundee U), Tommy McLean (Kilmarnock), Bobby McKean (St Mirren), John Brown (Dundee), Dougie Bell (Aberdeen),
Stewart Kennedy (Stenhousemuir), Gordon Smith (Kilmarnock), Ian Redford (Dundee), Dave MacKinnon (Partick Thistle), Craig Paterson (Hibernian), Stuart Munro (Alloa),
Ian Ferguson (St Mirren), Davie Robertson (Aberdeen), Alec Cleland (Dundee United),
Neil McCann (Hearts), Kenny Miller (Hibs), Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock), Steven Whittaker (Hibs), Kevin Thomson, (Hibs), Steven Naismith (Kilmarnock), Kirk Broadfoot (St Mirren), Lee Wallace (Hearts), Barrie McKay (Kilmarnock) and Danny Wilson (Hearts)

Hence going SPL might be a better idea than it seems:

Callum Paterson is still recovering from an horrific knee injury that wrecked his proposed move to Derby County, and now Cardiff City and Rangers want to sign the Scottish international who will soon be a free agent. The 22-year-old athletic and talented right back would be a real asset to this new Rangers side. Paterson - who scored 10 goals in 24 matches for Hearts last season - is a marauding attacking full back who offers more awareness than the unreliable Tavernier.

Ryan Jack, the central midfielder, is believed to be Ibrox-bound and the bad blood between Rangers and Aberdeen will no doubt last throughout the summer. The Dons’ former captain is expected to sign after the Scottish Cup Final ... after being stripped of the armband by Derek McInnes ahead of their showdown with Celtic. Ryan is another free agent and his grit in the engine room is desperately needed. He'll no doubt get dog’s abuse at Pittodrie for years to come, because he had the audacity to improve himself, but Ped the Ted won't care as long as the 25-year-old can make a big difference to the ‘Gers.

Steven Naismith left in acrimonious circumstances, but it's understood he could be heading back to Rangers. He will be 31 in September and has enjoyed an excellent career despite three serious knee injuries threatening his livelihood. Steven was an important player at Everton under Roberto Martinez and David Moyes. He might receive an indifferent welcome back to Ibrox, but there is no doubt he will improve our current side.

Louis Moult – Appearances & goal scoring record for the last four years.

Season 2016-17 - 34 games and 18 goals for Motherwell - SPL
Season 2015-16 - 42 games and 18 goals for Motherwell - SPL
Season 2014-15 - 32 games & 7 as Sub and scored 16 goals for Wrexham – Football Conference
Season 2013-14 – 36 games & 7 as Sub and scored 17 goals for Nuneaton – Football Conference

Does Louis ever get injured and have to miss out in games? He has a phenomenal record of playing throughout the last four seasons and in almost every game. I can fully understand many die hard blue noses looking down their noses at trying to sign a Motherwell centre forward, but Moult has the credentials and potential to succeed at Ibrox.

He's scored 18 goals in each season at Fir Park and has a habit of scoring in big games. He's scored four times against Celtic and a goal at Ibrox this season and is powerful in the air. Motherwell are looking for around £500,000 and Michael O'Halloran in exchange.

And from overseas:

Bruno Alves - The big prize.

Forget the fact he is 35, Bruno Alves would be the club's biggest statement of intent in the transfer market. This is a defender who has operated at the highest level of European football for well over a decade and has enjoyed a good season with Cagliari in Serie A. Bruno is a powerful stopper, who thrives in winning aerial duels and would add steel to the current team. Many teams will be keen on a player who won Euro 2016 with Portugal, but if Rangers can add his signature it would be a huge boost for Caixinha.

And today we are linked with a glut of new players including Hearts’ Jamie Walker.

Going SPL-based is a technique that worked for managers like Walter in the past, and signing them in concert with some wise imports from overseas and down south is a prudent approach. We might not win the SPL with it yet, but it would be progress. If strategically and carefully planned.

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