In short, any player under 24 and out of contract can move cross border for a nominal fee – they go to English clubs for much more, and it’s a rule which Scottish clubs, particularly Rangers, exploit to its maximum.
It’s called the “training compensation regime” and it means Rangers sign Jordan Rossiter, Joe Aribo, Calvin Bassey, and a host of others at around £250,000.
It also meant we lost Billy Gilmour who is now worth around £50M+ for a pathetic £500,000, albeit he was only a 15-year old kid when he went south.
But it’s a strategy the club is clearly using to fill the squad with players, young players it believes are good enough to push for the league title – at a very low cost.
Fans are of the belief the major signings will appear later in the window, and that may well be true, but there are strengths and weaknesses of Rangers’ current approach.
The obvious strength is bringing north a potential gem like Celtic’s Moussa Dembele – £400K from Fulham and netted them £20M. Simply put, you can harvest some top class players at a pittance. Rangers ourselves hope to do that with Glen Kamara, who’s being tracked by some European clubs. And possibly Joe Aribo if and when he comes onto a concerted game.
But the main idea is finding cheap young players who turn out to be superb and good enough to start for a club the size of Rangers.
It’s a sound strategy, albeit a risky one, and here’s the weaknesses:
The main one is bulking the squad up with what turns out to be substandard players who weren’t good enough to crack English football. Releasing dead wood like Jon Flanagan and Jason Holt is pointless if you’re just replacing them with more of it.
And another obvious one is signing all these young players is a damning indictment of our own academy and the young players we have ourselves. If we do sign Dennis Gyamfi, for example, at RB, it’s an official middle finger up at Nathan Patterson – same age, same position.
It’s a strategy we’ve exploited for years, but as yet, it hasn’t actually yielded many successful results.
Hopefully it will soon.