There’s no question that aside a bunch of Rangers-minded pundits like Alan Hutton and Barry Ferguson keeping the story alive, the fervour over Lawrence Shankland has completely crashed and it appears the Hearts captain will remain in Gorgie this window.
The problem here for Rangers is the same issue Ibrox Noise discussed a few weeks ago – our budget for this window, at absolute creaking roof capacity, is no more than £3M. That is it. That’s the limit.
That’s on every player who comes in, meaning Philippe Clement and the scouting network including of course Director of Football Recruitment Nils Koppen have had to be extremely frugal – and the deals, for now, can really only be loans or Bosmans.
Clement knew the budget, the situation before he accepted the job, and while he, like any manager, would love a tonne of new players in this month, it realistically isn’t going to happen.
But the Shankland problem is simple. We just can’t afford him as things stand.
He is the best striker in Scotland outside the Old Firm, arguably even including, and while he’s not the quickest, he scores goals like they’re going out of fashion.
But that’s not cheap stuff there. That’s not £3M. In today’s prices that’s £6M minimum. If Rangers chuck £6M at Cremonese and £6M at Feyenoord for Dessers and Danilo respectively, for two guys who don’t score that much and aren’t even internationals, can we say with a straight face that Shankland isn’t worth the same or even more?
Of course he is. He’s a great striker, a natural goalscorer, and unless the Ibrox side can offer a player or two with the package who Hearts actually want, as opposed to the chafe that we don’t need (like Wright and Matondo, for example) then he will stay where he is.
Shankland would love to move to Rangers, he’s a total bluenose and it’s his dream switch – but he knows he’s good, and he knows Hearts know that too, and they will expect top price for their prize asset and captain.
Rangers wouldn’t expect a penny less than £15M for James Tavernier given his importance and goals, so why do we think Hearts would go for £3M for their own counterpart? If Aberdeen sell their best players for up to £8M (that’s Calvin Ramsey’s ‘rising to’ fee at Liverpool) then Rangers’ hopes of getting Shankland for £3M are low at best.
Now some will point out his 18 months left, but that didn’t stop Rangers getting £6M rising to £10M for Joe Aribo who was in the last year of his deal.
In short, we can’t charge top money for our own prize assets and expect other clubs to gift theirs to us for small change.
If Rangers are to get Shankland, it will take big money.
Sadly, in this window, we just don’t have big money.