Ibrox Noise noticed something lately which we’re pretty sure few others have. It’s not strictly a big deal, and indeed, given how successful the club has been since early December, it might not even matter, but in the grand scheme of things, maybe it does.
Last summer, Rangers had our first serious transfer window under Steven Gerrard. Sure, there had been summer 2018, but that was his rookie season, his first on the job, and three major signings were made before he formally started. We also made colossal use of the loan market, which ultimately worked out a disaster, bar one player.
But summer 2019 was different – this was Gerrard’s first major true window, and look what we got:
Jake Hastie, Greg Stewart, George Edmundson, Joe Aribo, Filip Helander, Brandon Barker, Sheyi Ojo, Andy King.
We have excluded all loan signings made permanent and January precontracts – so no Steven Davis, Jordan Jones or Ryan Kent, for example.
No, just the ‘new’ players.
And looking at that list of the 8 players who came in at a total cost of over £4M, only two of them have come even close to establishing themselves as first picks – Joe Aribo and Filip Helander.
And it’s safe to say neither of them have completely won the fans over, particularly Helander.
We are making no judgements on this, or any calls, because Steven Gerrard earned a lot of leeway, trust, and slack last month with one of the best months we’ve had at Ibrox since 2011.
But it’s intriguing that his first-choice XI only features, at best, only two of his new summer signings, and indeed another of them immediately went back out on loan.
Pretty much the entire first team is made up of his work in the 2018 windows (McGregor, Barisic, Goldson, Katic, Arfield, Kent), with 3 pre-Stevie players making up the rest – Jack, Morelos and Tavernier and those two January signings in Davis (loan) and Kamara (bargain).
Either it highlights how poor summer 2019’s window was for Rangers, or how stonking 2018’s and winter was. That’s a question for the half glass full or empty brigade.
But it’s interesting to ponder just how good last month was – and it was done with players who’d been here a long time already.
Makes you think.