The first obvious answer most (of a green and white persuasion) want to provide here is a categorical no. They are the ones who have spent multimillions on top-dollar players and have 8IAR. They know how to be champions.
And it’s true, they do have that advantage.
But the Steven Gerrard project at Ibrox has been percolating for over a season now, and only in the past few weeks has the work begun to bloom and Gerrard’s hand properly revealed.
Sign two excellent Bosmans in Scott Arfield and Allan McGregor. Both internationals, both experienced at the absolute top levels of the game. Baseline foundation.
Take a risk on some costly signings – not all will work – Grezda failed, Lafferty crumpled – but Barisic had the potential to be a long-term project, as did Katic, and Goldson would be good enough for now.
Sign Steven Davis on a loan/Bosman – a player experienced at the highest levels of the game and another international. Add a £65K signing in Glen Kamara who had the ability to be worth well beyond £15M – but only good scouting would spot that one. Add a pre-contract international for nothing in the form of Jordan Jones.
Add a £250K signing in Joe Aribo whose real market value will reach £10M before long. Add a top-class defender in Helander with a far better CV than Goldson for the same price as him – a surplus player at his current club who’s itching for a fresh start. Add one loan, a single loan who has looked outstanding and good enough to deliver on his reputation in the form of Ojo.
See where we’re going here? Rangers are now filled with top quality players at zero to little cost – McGregor, Davis, Kamara, Arfield, Aribo, Ojo, Jones = £300,000 for seven players who are good enough to push for the title.
Add the blooming £2M Barisic, the potential of £3M Helander, and conjoin with the existing pre-Gerrard talent (stay or go) of (££??) Morelos, (££??) Tavernier, Jack et al, and from nowhere Steven Gerrard has cherry picked the best of what was there, replaced the garbage and built a squad which has enough marquee players already to be taken seriously for a title fist.
It’s not a group of winners together yet, but between them Davis and McGregor know how it feels, and Arfield is an exceptional leader. Add Jones, Aribo and Kamara and it’s the finest blend of youth and experience.
It took over a year for us to see this squad take shape, and it still does need some tweaking, but we can say, on paper at least (and taking into account uncertainty over how this group will actually do in the rough and tumble of the SPL), that a Rangers XI of McGregor, Tavernier, Helander, Katic, Barisic, Davis, Kamara, Aribo; Jones, Morelos, Arfield is absolutely, unequivocally good enough to push for or win the title.
And you can quote us on that.