As Rangers announced a 22-man Europa League squad, homegrown imbalance in the Ibrox team meant several of the club’s high profile signings missed out.
UEFA demands that clubs must include eight homegrown players, that is players who have been trained in every club’s respective country for three years before their 21st birthday.
Of the eight, four must be homegrown at each respective club in what the governing body frames as an attempt to nurture young talent in each nation.
But despite outgoing sporting director Ross Wilson claiming the club needs to look towards Scotland, there are several high profile Premiership names the club has failed to move for in recent windows.
As a result of the club’s recent transfer business, Leon Balogun, Ridvan Yilmaz and Kieran Dowell were all left out the Europa League squad and Michael Beale admitted they’re not happy about it.
Robby McCrorie (Rangers), Kieran Wright (Rangers), John Souttar (Dundee United), Ryan Jack (Aberdeen) and Scott Wright (Aberdeen) are the homegrown players in Rangers’ squad.
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But what if the club considered the following alternatives to ensure Rangers are best equipped on both the European and domestic fronts?
Rangers Europa League squad alternatives
Josh Doig – Ridvan Yilmaz
As Rangers were spending £3.4m rising to £5m to sign Turkish international Ridvan Yilmaz from Besiktas, Hellas Verona were spending less to sign Hibs’ Josh Doig.
The Scotland youth international moved to Italy in a reported £3m deal, following the full-back path of Aaron Hickey to the continent, and has gone on to impress in Serie A.
Now out of Rangers’ price range whilst Ridvan Yilmaz struggles for minutes, perhaps a move for the young Scotland star would’ve been smarter with the Europa League squad in mind.
Ryan Porteous – Leon Balogun
Ok, so we’ve got to factor in the fact that ex-Hibs defender Ryan Porteous doesn’t exactly like Rangers and that Rangers fans don’t exactly like him.
But there were legitimate links between the Gers and the Scotland international centre-back before his move to English Championship Watford.
Now plying his trade in the English second flight following a £450k move in January, Rangers could’ve selected him for the Europa League squad in place of Leon Balogun.
Max Johnston – Dujon Sterling
Whilst Rangers have included Dujon Sterling in the Europa League squad, links to Max Johnston came a time when the club moved for the ex-Chelsea full-back.
Sterling might have greater pedigree than the former Motherwell kid – who moved to Sturm Graz in the summer – but Rangers have struggled to find a suitable Nathan Patterson replacement.
A talented young right-back whose dad Allan once played at Ibrox, this would’ve been a cheap and cost effective move which boosted the homegrown coefficient.
Lewis Ferguson – Kieran Dowell
The son of former Rangers midfielder Derek and nephew of treble-winning captain Barry, a move for Lewis Ferguson appeared to make so much sense but never materialised.
Whilst we don’t know how willing Aberdeen would’ve been to play ball, the fact Rangers never tried to intervene and pull on the family heartstrings in the career of Lewis Ferguson must be a source of huge regret.
Now routinely scoring from midfield for Bologna in Serie A, the £3m the club spent to sign the midfielder looks a homegrown snip with some of the country’s top clubs routinely linked.
Lawrence Shankland – Cyriel Dessers
As Cyriel Dessers struggles to find his feet in Scotland, there have been plenty of Rangers fingers pointed towards Lawrence Shankland.
A boyhood bluenose who has been routinely linked with a move to Ibrox, it has never happened for Shankland who is proving a potent Premiership goalscorer at Hearts.
Whilst Dessers is in the Europa League squad, and could yet come good in Glasgow, Lawrence Shankland pretty much guarantees goals domestically and would’ve surely been available for less than the £4.5m spent on Cyriel.