Windass fee proves that Rangers need to barter better when selling players
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Windass fee proves that Rangers need to barter better when selling players

Josh Windass is a player who plainly divides opinion among Rangers fans so there will be some who are pleased to see him depart for Wigan Athletic.

There will also be some who are not happy to see such a productive source of goals leave Ibrox, but in many ways, there is a bigger issue at hand here.

Whichever side of the Windass debate you come down on, a reported fee or £2.5m plus addons looks a paltry amount. Here’s why.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 08: Stuart Armstrong during a Southampton FC training session at The Staplewood Campus on August 8, 2018 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)

Across the city, Stuart Armstrong was running into the final year of his Celtic contract, going into this summer but Brendan Rodgers was able to hold out for a reported £7m from Southampton, without anything close to the panic of deadline day.

Of course there are caveats; no two deals are the same, Armstrong is a Scottish international and was sold to the Premier League.

In terms of their respective importance to their sides, though, Windass comes out on top. His 12 goals and eight assists in the league last season dwarf Armstrong’s three and four respectively.

Yet, Armstrong was worth £7m with 12 months left on his deal, while Rangers accepted less than Windass’ reported £3m release clause to free him from a contract he only signed in 2018.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – AUGUST 08 : New signing John McGinn of Aston Villa poses for a picture at the club’s training ground at Bodymoor Heath on August 08, 2018 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

With the clock ticking down on the English window, Hibernian sold talisman John McGinn to Aston Villa, after resisting interest from Celtic that fell below their reported £4m valuation of a player who was also entering the final year of his contract.

That all adds up to suggest that Rangers need to work on getting better fees for the players they decide to let go. Martyn Waghorn left last summer for a reported £250,000 and Rangers received more than that from the sell-on fee when he signed for Derby just 12 months later.

Rangers fans understand the reality of the financial landscape north and south of the border. Unfortunately, every player at Ibrox has his price but the Gers must do better at bumping up the value of the ones who are sold.

Losing players for knockdown prices can deflate a fanbase. No supporter wants to lose key players – although Windass’ divisiveness may create a rare exception – but getting in top dollar creates relative optimism that they can be replaced.

In practical terms, boosting asking prices will give Steven Gerrard more scope to reshape his squad but for as long as Rangers fail to negotiate as effectively as Celtic – and even Hibs – it will be more difficult to compete and harness a feel-good factor and unity. There is plenty of room for improvement.

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