Danilo’s mediocre Rangers spell, aside a short burst of goals briefly, is no surprise given he, like Cyriel Dessers and Sam Lammers, had an average immediate CV before he arrived at Rangers.
Danilo thus far has 6 goals and 5 assists in 21 appearances – like Dessers, if we combine those it’s 11 in 21, which is, frankly, fairly adequate, but it’s not worth £6M or £40,000 a week.
Before Danilo joined Rangers his career already gave clues that his earlier peaks at Twente and Ajax were on the wane – 14 goals and 4 assists in 48 for Feyenoord, but of course 10 of those came in last season’s title win, and it overblew his qualities.
At Twente he was decent, 17 in 34 plus 5 assists, and 9 goals in 20 at Ajax plus an assist is again a solid number, but this all preceded Feyenoord where over a single season, and being heavily involved, he could net just 14 in 48.
Like Lammers, like Dessers, Danilo came to Rangers on the back of his former reputation, and that is the rub of this piece:
The market Rangers were (and are) in is not one that can secure coveted performers who are prized assets at their present teams other than very occasionally.
Not a single player Rangers signed this summer, aside perhaps Jose Cifuentes, was a first-team regular, and yes, that includes Danilo. 26 of his appearances last season were as sub. 20 starts in 32 for Dessers.
And this goes back to winter as well – Cantwell and Raskin were no longer part of their previous clubs’ plans, and Rangers got premium value players (£47M combined) for £3.5M total.
And that is a harsh reality our club has to live with for now – we simply rarely sign first-choice coveted asset players at Rangers, players who are first-team regulars. Ridvan Yilmaz is a bit of an exception, and he cost a fair few quid.
The market we’re in is fringe players, bit-part players who have either fallen out with their manager, become free agents, or are about to. We rarely to never sign first-pick players from other teams, so it’s really not a surprise we’re just not very good.
If we look at our entire first team picked last night, barely a soul in that starting XI was a first choice at their previous teams. Even Lunny only got 23 starts in his final Sheffield PL season. Tom Lawrence was, but that’s Derby, a Championship side.
And that is a harsh truth about the quality we can bring in.
Back in the days of Walter, all the players acquired were first picks. From 2007 and that first window, Kevin Thomson was first pick at Hibs, and Weir, Ehiogu and Webster were all free agents who had been first picks at their previous clubs at pretty high levels.
Cuellar? First pick at LaLiga Osasuna. Jelavic? First pick at Austrian Bundesliga Wien. Naismith? First pick at Killie. Whittaker? First pick at Hibs. Edu? First pick at MLS Toronto. Davis? First pick at PL Fulham. Etcetera.
It goes on.
Now? It’s a different world. We can’t sign players who are their clubs’ major assets, it rarely to never happens now. We just don’t have the money or the allure now that we used to.
Which means the players we’re getting are scraps.
Joe Aribo WAS a big player for his team, but that team was in League One. Hardly marquee. Glen Kamara WAS a big player for his team, but Rangers benefited from pre-contract then being able to free him for £50K. And he was a long, long time ago now.
When it comes to modest PL teams or any SPL team, or European teams, it’s rare-to-never Rangers can attract a player who is a regular for these sides, unless they are already a Rangers fan or end of contract.
If Lawrence Shankland wasn’t a Rangers supporter, we doubt there would be a hope in hell we’d be able to attract him, if we indeed can.
So what are we saying?
Philippe Clement has his work cut out bringing in Rangers Class quality. Even Jack Butland, magnificent though he is, was surplus at his last two clubs, and only now are PL clubs looking at him given how brilliantly he’s doing in Scotland.
Restoring a Rangers-level squad and making us the kind of Rangers Walter could or Eck, and even Wee Dick before him… is not going to be easy. Or cheap.