” Do you have receipt for that mate ?”. The question asked many times when attempting to return goods deemed faulty or not up to standard you were sold them apon.
In the haste of the summer sun many purchases are made randomly, the kind of things we are forced to write off as expensive ill guided mistakes, and amongst the fake RayBan, BBQs and patio furniture surely the worst two buys of summer 2017 will go down as Carlos Pena and Eduardo Herrera the two Mexican internationals singed by Rangers.
As the summer went into full flow and before even us were put out of European competition Rangers seemed to be going about there transfer business in a organised and structured manner,under the guidance of new and unknown manager Pedro Caixinha having already secured the services of Ryan Jack the Aberdeen captain on a pre contract and rumours rife of the impending signing of Graham Dorrans to his boyhood club all seemed to point to a influx of players that would help us close the gap on on not only Celtic but Aberdeen who we had finished behind.
The mere fact Rangers decided to splash the cash in the club’s present circumstance on two Mexican players certainly raised some eyebrows along with us supporters,leaving us searching google and YouTube in order to catch a glimpse of the talent we would see grace the Ibrox turf.
Let’s start with the less but at still 1.5 million no bargain Eduardo Herrera, he was sold to us as a target man who would prove a good foil for the newly singed Alfredo Morales. Herrera’s nickname in Mexico had been “The Fridge ” and any of us with a knowledge of the 80s NFL sensation of the same name hoped that’s where the similarities ended. Very early on it became quite evident that what Herrera wasn’t was a target man he might be listed as 6ft 2in but jumps about 3ft 8in. Despite a few flashes of ability and some nicely taken goals he has failed to nail down or at worst provide competition for the striking role at Rangers, yes he may not be the worst player but at the outlay I can’t help but feeling it would have been better utilised in funding Lewis Moult a player proven in the league and at less than half the cost, a decision that would later come back to haunt Pedro.
Now to Carlos Pena a somewhat enigma of player with 19 international caps to his name and Rangers biggest price tag of somewhere (depending where you read) north of 2.2 million big things were clearly expected.
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On arrival the talk was of a complete midfielder who would go box to box and provide a vital link from middle to attack. It is worth noting that Pena signed on the same day as Herrera 22nd June and as to date has made 7 starts for Rangers not the kind of return expected for the outlay I’m sure you’ll all agree.
Almost immediately from Pena’s arrival the Glasgow rumour mill was in full flow, we all know what they are and for me to speculate on here would be just irresponsible and unfair, what I can say is that when we finally got to see Pena in a blue jersey he looked anything but fit and match sharp. Over the course of his starts for the club he actually got worse and looked even further off the pace, but there was signs of a player in there most notably with goals against Patrick and a double in the match with St Johnstone, the issue is that for every play that looked as if he might come good there was 10 bad passes or a terrible first touch, that put together with his displays of ill discipline made is question was this a player doing all he could in order to succeed.
Ultimately these signings contributed in large part to the downfall of Caixhina as these were his men, the players he touted and told the board were essential for Rangers to progress, I strongly doubt if any of these two will have any part to play under the new manager, but the bigger question must surely be of the men who sanctioned these deals and signed them off, and amongst the flip flops and beech shorts packed away in the loft for next summer some board members might want to search through to see if they still have the receipt.
In what is ever more becoming the normality for the Rangers’ PR machine the club released yet another Friday night statement, giving us an update on the search for a new manager. The purpose of what this set out to achieve was lost on many of us. It seemed like a needless statement and further highlighted the board’s lack of plan and once again failed to gauge the temperature of the fan base.
Since the departure of Pedro Caixinha the press favourite for Rangers next manager has been current Aberdeen manager and ex Rangers player, Derek McInnes. As speculation has grown the bookmaker’s odds have continued to fall, now sitting as low as 1/3. The timing of Ranger’s statement has led many to believe that McInnes has either declined an offer to lead Rangers, or that Rangers’ board have removed him from their list of potential candidates.
Throughout all the press attention there has been a noted wall of silence from Pittodrie. No “hands off our manager,” and McInnes himself has given foundation to these speculations by choosing his verbiage very carefully. A simple statement of “I’m not interested in the Rangers’ job,” would have put an end to all conjecture but his lack of definitive clarification has only served to validate these rumours in the eyes of fans.
Are we to believe that Aberdeen, who consider Rangers there biggest rivals, would not have run to the press at the first sign of interest if it suited them? It is quite possible that Friday night’s statement was meant to deflect attention away from McInnes. Rangers may well have met the compensation figure stated in his current contract but stumbling blocks could be on defining his role as manager, his transfer budget and the level of decision making power he would be given with regards to recruitment and the daily operations of the club. Given McInnes’ current stature he may well have his eye on another vacant managerial post given the Scottish national team are also on the hunt.
Many Rangers fans fully expected the new manager to be in place by now, giving the time elapsed since pedros departure and also the fact that this was not a unexpected turn of events along with the fortune timing of the international break in the domestic schedule.
Only time will tell if these rumours become reality and while Rangers’ fans continue to theorise on who will be the next person to take up the post, Aberdeen may have made the loudest statement yet by simply saying nothing at all.