As Rangers raised the curtain on the Scottish Premiership season with victory over Aberdeen, the performance of Dons midfielder and reported transfer target Lewis Ferguson provided an interesting subplot.
The Ibrox club have been linked with a move for the talented 20-year-old midfielder with Steven Gerrard on the hunt for players to improve things in the middle of the park.
Ferguson – nephew of ex-Gers captain Barry and son of former Rangers midfielder Derek – would add bite and ability with plenty of room to grow.
But if Rangers are serious about competing for the top prizes this season, questions remain over splashing out an excessive fee on the young midfielder this year.
The Daily Record claim that Ferguson would cost far more than the £1.75 million Aberdeen received for Eoin Jess in 1996, but it doesn’t appear clear how much they’d demand.
Ferguson may well have won the Football Writers Young Player of the Year for last season but against Rangers his youthful exuberance was evident on more than one occasion.
There’s a tenacity to Ferguson’s play which we do lack and he is clearly a player with ability, but for Rangers to be convinced to put out so much money we need something closer to the complete package.
Someone with a little more maturity and reliability who – for the expected price attached to Ferguson – can come in and deliver a title straight away.
Playing for Rangers, there’s also the added risk of increased refereeing scrutiny with his tough tackling style likely to come even further under the microscope at Ibrox.
Discipline has been a big problem at Rangers during Steven Gerrard’s first two seasons at the club and Ferguson already has 27 yellow cards and two reds in his career despite playing only 93 games.
It’s a statistic which many fear would skyrocket in the Rangers midfield.
But given the importance of the season Rangers’ resistance to splashing out a large slice of their transfer budget on someone still developing as a player is perhaps understandable.
Rangers are reportedly on the verge of securing a deal for Bongani Zungu to the tune of £3.8m, a fee perhaps marginally higher than what Ferguson could cost Rangers.
Zungu is an unknown quantity for most but at 27 he brings international and Ligue 1 experience. This is an established player who should stand out in this division.
Whilst Ferguson has blue blood and there’s a romanticism attached to the reported Rangers interest, the issue with bringing him down the M8 could be one of timing, cost and risk rather than ability.