As Steven Gerrard and his men prepare to take the Ibrox turf and face the seeming formality that is St Joseph’s, Ibrox Noise observes something which may have passed a lot of fans by, but which the site covered some weeks ago only for it to continue unabated to this present day.
Last summer, 5. This summer one.
What am I on about?
Last summer, Rangers drafted in a swathe of failures, let’s face it – from Joe Worrall to Lassana Coulibaly, Rangers’ work in the loan market was absolutely horrific.
Every single loan acquisition last summer was quite frankly a disaster – the only apparent exception being Ryan Kent, who only stood out in a handful of matches. Miraculously, yes, but far from consistent.
This summer, Steven Gerrard and his management team, despite praising the loan market over the past 12 months, have completely, and totally, and utterly learned from the travesty that occurred last summer and haven’t used the same market at all, bar one exception of Sheyi Ojo.
Ojo, Marseille cameo aside, has looked electric, and every inch a good risk, but if we look at WHY the loan market failed last year for Rangers, it’s a very simple answer. These were young players who didn’t make the grade at their existing clubs – every single one of them was surplus. Your Ovie Ejarias and Umar Sadiqs were not wanted by Liverpool or Roma and we ended up with them out of desperation to clear out the filters at Ibrox of the rotten work done by the previous managers.
And perhaps that was the point. Bring in some half-baked players on loan, use them for a year, and then send them back when ready to recruit the real players we’ve brought in this term to long-term replace the existing dross.
Did we in fact use the loan market to an end? Quite possibly.
There was certainly a change in policy in January. Two more loans, but rather than being Academy graduates, they were experienced pros one of whom became a permanent signing and has been one of the best players since April at Ibrox. The other is a high-quality long-term loan, with a few odd clauses in it about first-refusal for his parent club.
But no longer are Rangers delving into any old club’s youth academy and taking a garbage gamble on a Lassana Coulibaly or a Joe Worrall.
Now it’s a rare exception, or a genuine pro like Steven Davis, and otherwise it’s all permanent signings.
Our players, Ojo aside, are all ours. We don’t have to worry about trying to secure them in January or next summer if they impress.
And we’re all the better for it.