Earlier today we discussed the imminently increased tenures at Ibrox of Jermain Defoe, Allan McGregor and Steven Davis, by however or whatever method of legality and details of contract structure it may pertain to.
But the three of these guys join a growing list of permanency and long-term planning at Ibrox whereby the club’s most valuable and highest-contributing personnel have not only been rewarded for that, but they’ve given the club something back in terms of asset-building and a glut of high-quality contracts for valuable commodities.
Let’s look back at last year, for example, and the pile of players we had who weren’t even ours:
Ryan Kent, Joe Worrall, Umar Sadiq, Lassana Coulibaly and Ovie Ejaria.
These guys played a lot, some to a lot more success than others, but the reality is they weren’t ours.
Come January, another two were added to this – Davis and Defoe, neither of whom were able to express themselves too well without a proper pre-season with their new team mates or indeed much match fitness under their belts.
Plus Rangers still had a tonne of medium to long-term contracts which weren’t delivering:
Graham Dorrans, Jordan Rossiter, Kyle Lafferty, Fabio Cardoso, Carlos Pena, Eduardo Herrera, Jason Holt and Lee Hodson.
Many of these went out on loan, some were freed, and some remained at Ibrox.
Now, in the past 6 months, this really has changed.
Rangers have already tied up the best/most valuable assets to longer deals, such as Nikola Katic, the signing of Ryan Kent, Ryan Jack, we hope Jamie Barjonas albeit that’s a potential, Alfredo Morelos, the Bosman of Jordan Jones, Borna Barisic (2022), James Tavernier, Filip Helander, Glen Kamara, Scott Arfield, Joe Aribo and so on and so forth.
This long-term planning of constructing a squad fit for fighting for the SPL, securing these high-quality players on deals approaching, in many cases, half a decade, shows a real shift from the ‘prototype’ first season under Gerrard where so many loans failed and a few permanent signings didn’t work out.
How frustrating was it last season seeing Ryan Kent playing so well but not being our player?
This summer saw him and Jordan Jones arrive – £7.5M on a combined 8 years between them.
That in a nutshell means Rangers, this season, have just 3 loans – Defoe, the oddity of Andy King, and the divisive Sheyi Ojo.
All the rest of our players are ours, and the ones who aren’t nailed down for long term are of an age of impracticability of doing so.
There’s something just more trustworthy about a squad we know is ours, that we the fans believe in as much as the management do.
And knowing guys like Ryan Jack, Kent, Katic and Jones (and hopefully Morelos) are here for the long term is only beneficial in every single sense.
And there’s something else.
Stay tuned for what that is…