The winter window is now underway and while there’s been a lot of stories about specific outgoings and incoming, there’s been less focus on what general positions actually require strengthening.
This Rangers team is going for 55 for the first serious attempt in 7+ years, and getting the right squad, if we haven’t already, is a must for the rest of the campaign.
This is easily Rangers’ most important January window since 2007 and getting it right is the difference between winning the league and not.
So, where do we need new talent?
Fullbacks are covered – whether Rangers fans universally love Tavernier or not, he’s first name on the team sheet. Borna on the other side is Rolls Royce and irreplaceable given his value and contribution. Maybe lacks a bit of depth but we have Halliday, Polster (ish) and Flanagan as backup.
Central defence not so much. Goldson isn’t persuading everyone he’s good enough despite a magnificent OF, but it’s a slightly moot point given he’s the second name on the team sheet anyway. We all love Katic but Stevie has confirmed he’s a ‘project’ and won’t start all matches if all is pure and holy. Edmundson is either ‘one for the future’ or just out of favour – hasn’t broken through at all while Filip Helander is injured till possibly March. So yes, if Rangers can find a high quality CB this month, rest assured we’ll make a move. Jake Cooper may be on the horizon but he won’t be cheap, and perhaps Stevie might look again at Martin Skrtel. Remember, no one in our defence is older than 27.
Midfield? Maybe. Midfield is now Davis, Kamara (vulnerable to sale), Arfield, Jack and for a three-man midfield that’s arguably a little thin in depth. Despite King (leaving) and Docherty (unwanted), not to mention McCrorie (probably unwanted?), Rangers just don’t have the quality in numbers in there that they maybe should. If a quality addition can be made here, surely it’ll be done.
Wings. Kent and Aribo are the quality players, Ojo, Stewart, Barker and Jones (unwanted) are the backup. There’s a surprising lack of quality depth here too, in terms of the deputies being at the level of the first choices. It’s not a shock that Stevie is reportedly looking at Majer of Dinamo Zagreb. More probably required.
Striker. Again, aside Morelos and Defoe there’s no one. So we’d be in favour of an addition here.
Rangers’ squad is too big, as Stevie said, but it maybe lacks an edge when it comes to how many truly first-team level players are in there. There’s a lot of squad players, and there’s surely no doubt that if opportunities arise in January, we’ll make moves.
It’s a strange dichotomy – the first XI group of around 18 is great, really great – but just one or two injuries suddenly changes the picture and one loss can weaken the whole team quite substantially. While Rangers mostly coped without Steven Davis, his absence in the LCF may have been the difference between losing and winning. Look how amazing we were with him at Parkhead.
And while Filip Helander’s not impressed everyone, had that injury been to Nikola Katic, or even Goldson, whatever we all think of either of those two, suddenly the 18-group picture dramatically changes. Even losing the Swede it does, because we’re down to just 3 CBs.
And up front, Alfredo Morelos’ absence v Killie, albeit a benching, did present Rangers with striking issues until he came on to bail us out – his enforced stint on the sidelines after the break won’t have the same getout clause.
Of course some might argue that had Stevie rotated a little more in terms of giving the Docherties, Joneses and Edmundsons more of a chance, perhaps that depth issue wouldn’t have been there.
But that’s another argument for another day.
We’d definitely say whatever we can do in January, we’d like to see done.
Just, no Andy Kings please.