It’s now 10 days into the January transfer window. Rangers have made progress in their overall plan to revamp the squad, with Murphy and Goss being signed. Carlos Pena has been loaned out, most likely to be sold after that spell, and Aaron Nemane’s loan spell wasn’t extended.
There’s a number of transfer rumours regarding Rangers being mentioned. As is always the case, any small interest or link is reported as a move for a player or used by agents to raise the profile of their client. This article is going to run through the various rumours of incoming players. It’s likely that you’ll have seen most of these names already. However, it’s worth noting the theme that they suggest. There are a lot of players who are at a good age for development, and would be low cost. It’s extremely unlikely that most of the names below will become Rangers players, but the reports do point to a strategy which is one most Rangers fans will find positive.
In no particular order, here are the players linked:
The Scotland international centre half has found himself on the bench for Norwich of late. He confirmed during a pundit appearance that he’ll be moving out on loan this month. He’s been heavily linked with Rangers for a few weeks now, and it seems there’s definite interest from the club. Reports suggest that the move relies upon either Alves being sold, or Norwich signing a replacement first. If the club are looking to sell Alves, his injury will hold that process up.
Martin can play at right back or centre half. As a full back, he’s more of the defensive type than one who would get forward and contribute there. If Alves does want to leave, there will be a lack of experience among the centre half options. As such, a move for Martin would make sense, even if just in the short term.
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In a well-placed article, it was claimed that Naismith would be willing to play “for free”. Essentially, he’s willing to waive any wage contribution required from Rangers and come back to the club on loan from Norwich. Various sources have suggested in recent weeks that this is well known by the club. It seems that Murty or Allen, possibly both, are not willing to sign Naismith as they believe they have better options. This story has added a bit of pressure, though, and will see his name crop up often this month until his immediate future is secured.
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There’s plenty of arguments for and against the signing of Naismith. I can sympathise with both views. The club are looking to develop prospective talent and build a predominantly young side. Experienced players will still be needed to help them out, but it’s hard to say if the positions Naismith can play require him right now. If his signing held back the likes of Windass, for example, I’m not sure that could be considered a good thing.
Another name which Rangers were linked with in the summer. Rumours are suggesting that the player has already signed a pre-contract deal, but it’s being kept quiet in the same way the move for Ryan Jack was. McLean is a Rangers fan, 26 years old, and has plenty of experience in this league. A move for him seems like one that’s pretty easy to justify. Whilst he may not instantly improve the first eleven, he’s certainly good enough to be part of a Rangers squad.
Again, Cummings is a player we’ve been linked with numerous times in the past couple of years. He was reportedly offered on loan to various clubs, with an option to buy being something Forest would entertain. However, the sacking of Mark Warburton may have changed this. The new Forest manager, Aitor Karanka, will want to assess his squad and may decide to keep Cummings around.
With his goal record at Hibs, his very gallus nature, and his potential to improve from such a young age, Cummings is a player most Rangers fans would welcome. This is a rumour worth keeping an eye on.
The 21 year old Hamilton midfielder has impressed this season. His performances for a very inconsistent Hamilton side have saw him linked with various clubs. However, he is a Rangers fan, and rumours suggest that his heart is set on a move to the club. Contact between the clubs and the players agent has supposedly been made, and Rangers are keen to push this one forward quickly.
In the past, Rangers have allowed players like McArthur and Dorrans move to clubs down south despite plenty of obvious potential. Docherty is very much in that mould, a fan of the club with plenty of ability. His style of play would be welcome in the absence of Dorrans through injury, and in a midfield three both of those players would do well with a defensive option behind them.
The Fleetwood striker, the son of Andy Cole and once of Manchester City’s academy, has plenty of potential suitors this month. He’s scored 10 goals in the league this season, and is seen as a player with loads of potential. Mark Allen will know him well from his time at City. Sheffield United have been heavily linked with him, but Rangers would look to sign him on a pre-contract and pick him up cheap on a development fee.
Cole is only 22, and his game is very raw. He’s got plenty of pace and an eye for goal, but his link-up play and strength are often questioned. There’s also been suggestions that his attitude isn’t the best. As will be seen with other names in this list, this is a player Rangers would be taking something of a punt on in the knowledge that it wouldn’t cost a huge amount, and his age and potential fits the criteria being sought.
Roberts is an 18 year old forward on loan at Walsall from West Brom. Recent reports have suggested that Marseille have been tracking his progress. Rangers are seemingly looking to sign him on a pre-contract deal, and West Brom are looking to persuade him to stay.
At 18, Roberts has shown some potential in his loan spells at Oxford, Shrewsbury and Walsall. He’s athletic and strong, and would be a low-risk signing. As things stand, I’d imagine it’s one that will be difficult to pull off though.
The Arsenal youngster is a versatile player, who predominantly plays in midfield. Again, he’s a young prospect who will be out of contract in the summer. Unlike Cole or Roberts, he has no real first team experience at any level, with only one sub appearance for Arsenal so far.
What is clear from this link, along with others, is that Rangers are looking to exploit the ruling which allows for small development fees for out of contract youngsters. All of the players mentioned so far also share similar characteristics, being athletic and young.
Allassani is currently playing in non-league football with Dulwich Hamlet after being released by Crystal Palace. He has 17 goals in 16 matches, and reports suggest Rangers, Norwich and Celtic are interested in signing him. Various other English Championship and League One clubs are also tracking him. As such, you’d imagine he’ll have options in England which he’ll see as better for his career at this stage.
The Kilmarnock attacking midfielder has been very impressive this season. His performances have led to a call-up for Northern Ireland, and he’s been key to the improvement in the Kilmarnock results. At 23, he’s on the verge of a big move for his career. It’s been rumoured that Rangers have made a bid of £500k for him, and there were suggestions that Lee Hodson was offered in exchange before that. Reports suggest that Norwich are looking to sign him and will bid £1m, so there’s bound to be a lot of work to be done yet.
Jones is very quick and direct as a player, and at a good age. He would have to adjust his style to deal with teams who sit in, but he would certainly offer a good option. If Rangers are intent on selling O’Halloran, this is a player who would potentially improve the squad overall and replace him pretty seamlessly.
Cotterill is a Welsh wide player at the age of 30 who has been playing in the English Championship most of his career. He’s recently been freed by Birmingham upon request. There are a number of English clubs linked with him, as he’s seen as an experienced, talented player. He’s quick, direct, and very good with set pieces.
At 30, Cotterill would be a move away from the seeming strategy. The only reason I believe the club would sign him is if Candeias was to leave, and there’s been no rumours of that at all. With the likes of Murphy, Windass and Candeias in the squad already, I don’t believe this one will be pursued.
McDonald has been linked with Rangers on various occasions. He’s a strong midfielder who has done well in the English Championship. However, recent signings and other links have been players who are strong Rangers supporters. McDonald is a big Celtic fan. Whilst that doesn’t really matter when it comes to a professional career, it would seem to break the mould that’s being signed right now.
McDonald would be another central midfielder, and there’s a growing number in the squad. If he was to sign, the likes of Docherty couldn’t be afforded. The Hamilton midfielder represents a better investment in various ways. There’s no doubt McDonald could be a good signing, but I think it’s unlikely to be one the club will move on.
As you can see, there’s a lot of names being linked with Rangers right now. Tellingly, they’re all midfielders or forward players, with only Martin being a defender. A lot of fans will look at that list and feel it’s uninspiring at best. There are a lot of names who wouldn’t be considered improvements on our first team at the moment. That’s understandable, but there’s reason to be enthused by a lot of the links. We seem to be following a clear strategy, where the squad will be filled with young British players hungry to succeed. It’s arguable that the approach is a little limited, but the Rangers resources are as well compared to previous times. Time will tell if the strategy can work, but it’s good to see signs of one being in place for a change.
What’s your thoughts on the transfer rumours? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your opinions!