The Rangers board have had plenty to say about the player trading model at Ibrox and as Joe Aribo prepares to head to Southampton, the pressure is on them to put their money where their mouth is.
Buying low or developing our own players and then selling high is viewed as one of the so-called “four pillars” of Rangers’ long-term sustainability as a business.
Back in December 2020, vice-chairman John Bennett delivered an AGM speech which outlined the need for player sales to form the crux of our business strategy alongside income generated through supporters (be it merchandise or ticket sales or anything in between), commercial revenue and European football [Rangers].
The Board deserve massive credit for getting the club to this point, building us up from the ruins of 2012 to reach a Europa League Final with a team full of assets built on a shoestring budget.
But after Rangers meekly surrendered the league title last season, a genuine feeling we threw a massive opportunity away through our own complacency, the pressure is on to deliver in this window.
Rangers had to invest to secure 55, undoubtedly the most important title in the club’s modern history, and with Steven Gerrard at the helm held on to the club’s top assets in order to deliver this.
But as a result an inflated wage bill and lack of income through player sales has prevented Rangers investing properly into the squad over the last few windows, the club instead relying on Bosman signings and high-profile loans.
With the league title no longer at Ibrox and a tough Champions League qualification test on the horizon, fans are getting antsy and the pressure is on the Rangers board to deliver in this window.
To date, only pre-contract Scotland international defender John Souttar has joined Rangers whilst the club has focused on a series of contract renewals.
Rangers pressure builds as Joe Aribo lines up Southampton move
Those Champions League qualifiers are about to get a little bit harder too given Nigerian international Joe Aribo, who is entering the final year of his contract, is reportedly in advanced talks with Premier League Southampton [Athletic].
Rangers look set to get the £10m release clause which has been set out in the player’s contract with a sell-on fee added for good measure as the Nigerian becomes the latest player Rangers have cashed in on.
Nathan Patterson stands as the only other high-profile Rangers exit in this regard, the Gers standing to make up to £16m depending on his success with Premier League Everton [Sky Sports].
Add in the £1.5m Rangers reportedly raked in selling Cedric Itten to BSC Young Boys and whilst simplified, it’s a reported £27.5m which has been claimed by the club in the last six months.
Aribo’s in particular are large boots to fill; Rangers will need to plug 57 appearances in a campaign where no-one in the world played more football than the ex-Charlton man.
The income generated from player sales also combine with Europa League revenues which the directorate claim exceed £40m, and the £4m raked in compensation after Steven Gerrard’s move to Aston Villa, with the total income reportedly topping £70m from Europe and player/staff trading alone.
If Rangers go into this new campaign with a similar squad and not having strengthened adequately to make a proper fist of it in their hopes of Champions League qualification and to wrestle the title back from Celtic, there will be hell to pay amongst the fans.
Much is made about making Rangers a sustainable club off the park, but in order for that to really happen there needs to be consistent success on it.
Now it’s about how the club reinvest part of this money into the squad, especially if Joe Aribo moves to Southampton, the challenge to improve the team subtly and to keep the big wheel turning and Rangers competitive.
Rangers fans have been patient as the board adopt this model – and somewhat sacrificed the league title after Celtic spent heavily last season – but the pressure is well and truly on for them to get things right in the remainder of the summer window as the player trading model kicks into action.
It’s just as well one player looks set to join the Rangers first-team imminently after a delay in the proposed deal.