We’re hardly fans of Aberdeen or Barry Robson, but something he’s said today has definitely rung true – the UK market has become mega-pricy in football and signing players from Scotland or England is no longer economically viable.
While in England they throw money around like confetti and can happily chuck £100M at an above-average player from Aston Villa, but in Scotland, not even Celtic can do this.
The big example is Lawrence Shankland – Rangers were quoted as interested in him, but the price would have been in the region of £6M-£10M for his signature.
Now Rangers were reported as bidding £7M on Haji Wright, but we don’t know if that was a serious bid, and we definitely did buy Danilo for about £6M, but in order for Rangers to increase the Scottish identity, clubs like Hearts and indeed Aberdeen themselves are now charging huge money for players who once upon a time were £2M tops.
So what does this mean? There’s an argument to be made that we spent £15M on Danilo, Lammers and Dessers and could have used that much better on someone like Shankland. As we asked yesterday, where did the data come from that suggested £6M on Dessers was a better investment than £6M+ on Shankland?
But it does also mean that the value for money in Scotland (and England) has massively plummeted – that Shankland is a once upon a time £2M player, but now he’s three or even four times that.
And while his CV is good, he failed horribly in Belgium and has only actually thrived in the Scottish Premiership (and Championship), whereas Dessers did it (modestly) in Italy and in Holland, both of which are a tonne better than the SPL.
But equally, the SPL is Rangers’ bread and butter.
Now Shankland is just an example, this isn’t meant to be a rant about him in particular – it’s the point Robson is making that on terra firma, prices are sky high – the only players Rangers can sign from England are unwanted or out of contract, and if we look at the ridiculous rubbish that is Ben Davies, he still set us back £4M and £30K a week!
And Scotland is the same. Doig, Hickey, Ferguson – all these quality players are now £10M+ talents, and that’s hard for Rangers to afford – Hickey is a £20M fullback for goodness sake.
So while we’re clueless as to why these summer signings in particular were acquired, we do see the merits of going overseas in a sense – the prices here at home are quite lavish.