NYCFC loanee James Sands has claimed that his Rangers deal was cut short to allow him to become a leader at the MLS club.
The USA international midfielder also claims that the Ibrox side wanted to procure his services permanently but that the Gers couldn’t afford to make his 18-month loan deal permanent.
This comes after Rangers put the ribbon on a thoroughly awful 2022 January transfer window when they sent 22-year-old James Sands back to NYCFC at the beginning of March.
It means all four of the players signed in that window – James Sands, Matuesz Zukowski, Amad Diallo and Aaron Ramsey – are no longer at Rangers.
James Sands claims Rangers wanted to sign him from NYCFC
Speaking following his return to NYCFC, James Sands claims that he wants to become a key player for his hometown club after returning to the USA.
But interestingly, the player also claims that Rangers wanted to sign him permanently and that the club couldn’t afford the outlay to complete the deal, reported to be in the region of £4.5m.
This comes despite James Sands failing to make a proper impression at Ibrox during his time in Glasgow and finding himself way down the pecking order amongst a competitive midfield.
“Going to Rangers was about answering questions about myself,” said James Sands, who’s earned seven USMNT caps [MLS Soccer].
“The biggest one was what position I can play best on the field. Now, I can say that’s in the midfield. New York gives me a unique opportunity where there’s an opening for me to fill that role and step up as a leader.
“I felt it made more sense to come back than going to another club in Europe.
“When you move somewhere on loan with a purchase option, everyone only looks at if the club picks up your option.
“For me, that wasn’t the end goal. It was more about development and the process. That’s something we understood, but maybe people outside the club didn’t understand.
“We had different options, but ultimately we decided Rangers was the best for me.
“We were fully aware of the financial situation the club has been through. They went into administration, had other difficulties.
“We were all fully aware it was unlikely they would spend what they needed to spend to make the move permanent. That was not a big factor.
“I had a great time under van Bronckhorst, I played a lot. The new coach came in, had more familiarity with other players, so it was tougher to get games.
“Still, they were very clear that they loved me as a player and would have been interested in keeping me, but the price was going to come between the two teams.”
Rangers have saved themselves a small fortune
Whilst we appreciate the player is just protecting his reputation here, there would’ve been a huge backlash had Rangers spent such a substantial amount signing James Sands from NYCFC permanently.
The midfielder was often employed at centre-back, where he toiled extensively during an injury crisis earlier in the season, but Sands also failed to properly take any opportunity he had in the middle.
Whilst we’re starting to get used to the USA bumming up average players, there’s not a fan inside Ibrox who had the wool pulled over their eyes when it came to the midfielder and £4.5m represented a huge risk.
We wish James Sands all the best back at NYCFC, and whilst he clearly thinks particularly highly of himself, as things stand all the signs suggest we’ll all be glad we didn’t fork out such a substantial amount to bring him to Rangers permanently.
Meanwhile, the situation with Malik Tillman is in stark contrast.