While Fashion Sakala is yet to perhaps fully settle in the colours of Rangers FC, the French star from the Jupiler Pro in Belgium Thomas Henry, linked to both Rangers and Celtic, is an example of the rather impressive deal Rangers secured with our new striker.
Henry, 26, does have a very good record in Belgium, but he’ll set favourites Celtic back around £7M, while Sakala, whose record is only slightly inferior, and he has two years on Henry, was of course completely free.
As with any signing, there is a risk attached – will they settle, will they understand their new team and league, and will they be happy in their new country. All of these things can affect a new arrival whether they’re a free or cost £100M.
But the fact Celtic would be shelling out approaching £10M for a striker only a little better on paper than Sakala shows the kind of value Rangers got without parting with a bean.
Indeed, Henry has only 34 appearances in the Jupiler while Sakala has nearly 100 including playoffs.
Yes, Henry’s pure scoring record is a bit higher, but Sakala, two years his junior and maturing all the time, has almost three times the top flight appearances Henry has.
What we’re getting at is Sakala, while not yet sparkling to life, shows every inch the potential to do so – and the fact we got him free massively reduces the risk factor. If he doesn’t work out, it didn’t cost us much. If he does, he’s another gem found for free.
Whereas if Celtic’s potential signing doesn’t work out, that’s £7M+ wasted.
Rangers are more scrupulous now in the transfer market, and we can’t say we blame them.
Can’t waste money any more.