Regardless of how good Glen Kamara was at the Euros, no bid arrived for him. Regardless of how much we rate Alfredo Morelos, no bid came in. In fact, this pattern repeated for almost all of our most coveted assets, with just two concrete bids for Nathan Patterson and one strong enquiry for Joe Aribo.
What does this all mean?
It means that while there absolutely is interest in Rangers’ players, clubs simply aren’t willing to meet the club valuations.
We have to face a sense of reality here that in 3 years of Stevie being manager, of us having our proper Rangers back (give or take) the prices for the players hasn’t grown in keeping with supposed market rate.
We’re guilty in the past on Ibrox Noise of saying £30M for Kamara, £30M for Barisic, £20M for Morelos – but while these players attract interest and even enquiries, clubs simply get nowhere near the numbers Rangers want.
On the other hand, Celtic get megamillions for their stars, with the bizarre exception being Ryan Christie who they pawned away for just £1.5M.
Aside him, it’s Dembele Dollars all round.
So why the disparity?
It’s actually pretty simple.
Celtic enjoyed 6+ years of no proper Rangers in the top flight, 2012 to 2018 (we’re going to discount 16-18 because we were horrible), and they strolled into the UEL and CL unchallenged for those 7 years. 6 or 7 seasons of accumulating wealth of around a minimum of £10M a season for UEL, and £35M for CL. You’re talking the region of £130M+ here.
In short, financially, they didn’t need to sell anyone. But Lyon REALLY wanted Dembele. They refused to sell. Until a £20M bid in summer 2018 changed their mind.
End of the day? Celtic didn’t have to sell him because they were rich, unchallenged by Rangers and having the exclusivity of Europe to themselves. For 7 years. And Lyon knew that.
Now? Rangers have literally just turned the corner in the last year, domestically, and while we had Europe, we also have 7 years of losses financially to resolve.
So clubs know Rangers are not as strong as Celtic financially, and don’t have to offer the big numbers they do to prise Celtic’s assets away.
If Rangers won’t sell Patterson for £8M, we go somewhere else. But we really want Ajer and we’ll pay what Celtic want.
It’s a set of circumstances of course that has a silver lining – no one will offer what Rangers want for Morelos et al, so we hold onto these players.
That’s no bad thing. But it does mean selling a player for what we deem his value may not be happening for a while yet.