Rangers, led by Mark Allen and his team, have struck early in this transfer window. Two Bosman deals tied up in Jordan Jones and Glen Kamara and more impressively, the experienced duo of Steven Davis and Jermain Defoe. Rangers now have two weeks to get Jones and Kamara in early or find additional re-enforcements. Watch this space.
There is now a definite plan and transfer strategy at Rangers. It is amazing what a scouting team/network and a Director of Football that knows his job can achieve. Looking at each player gives a clear indication of how they will fit into the squad.
What’s the easiest way to get a move to a big club? Play well against them. Kamara has done that a few times now, including a decent performance at Ibrox. As football fans, we always look for comparisons when we sign new players. Kamara, for me, resembles an early season Lassana Coulibaly but with better passing. Like Ross McCrorie, he likes to transition quickly into attack but Kamara prefers to break lines with the ball at his feet rather than passing through them. If Coulibaly had maintained his early season form I’m not sure we’d be going for Kamara. On a free/extremely cheap we have signed a young International player with proven experience of the league, good business on paper.
Rangers fans’ opinion seems split on Jones. Those that don’t think he is good enough seem to be using Michael O’Halloran as the flagstick. Jones is not a Celtic supporting, work-shy prima donna though. If you look at the role Daniel Candeias currently performs for Rangers, I’d be surprised if Steven Gerrard and Allen don’t have a similar plan for Jones. He has pace, can beat a man or play in a decent cross. If he watches Candeias’ performance against Celtic he will get an indication of the level of work rate he has to provide. Anything less won’t be acceptable. As an aside, Jones has caused Celtic plenty of problems over the last couple of seasons.
If ever a signing was a no-brainer. Just turned 34, Davis won’t be the same player he was during his first spell. There is a difference though. He won’t be playing in the middle with just one other midfielder and he won’t have to play every week.
Signing older players is always an individual thing. For me, one of the key things is their mobility. Davis is still lean and quick, he had the luxury of having pace to lose. He is also an intelligent player with valuable leadership qualities. Scott Arfield’s Old Firm performance demonstrated what we had been missing in the weeks before. Although he has signed on an initial six-month loan deal, Davis will be here for longer, guaranteed.
When you see his age being mentioned in the Scottish press, you can but laugh. A league that saw Kris Boyd finish as top goal scorer last year (ahead of Moussa Dembele, Odsonne Edouard and Alfredo Morelos) and has Kenny Miller near the top of the charts this year. Defoe is a better striker than either of the aforementioned. Defoe has played at both ends of the table and still been effective.
The consensus appears to be that Defoe will only play with Morelos or Kyle Lafferty. His sojourn at Sunderland ploughing a lone furrow up front would suggest otherwise. Like Davis, Defoe has plenty of pace to lose and is still more than quick enough over the five to ten yards that he needs to get away from lumberjack defenders. He will be the best finisher in the country from the moment he pulls on a blue jersey.
Across the river, Celtic have been repeating their usual policy. Buy/loan young and tell the media they turned down Real Madrid. Have they signed anyone to strengthen their first XI? No. The interesting one for me is Oliver Burke. Burke will only ever be a success in a counter-attacking team that sit in and don’t press. He needs a new agent, since he left Nottingham Forrest he has yet to make the right choice of team. Timothy Weah and Vakoun Issouf Bayo could go either way. But will they get games ahead of Edouard or Leigh Griffiths, if he returns?
There are still a couple of weeks left but at the moment Rangers are definitely winning this transfer window. The first XI is stronger and they have enhanced where they were weak. Without even playing any games Rangers have built on the momentum of the 1-0 Ibrox victory. Times, they are a changing!