02 July 2013

Transfer report card so far


by Ross McAdam | Contributor

Pre-season has begun with the first friendly for Rangers coming up this weekend. Ross McAdam takes a detailed look at the additions made to the squad, as well as the departures, and assesses the expectations for the coming season. 


Ins


Jon Daly
- A very controversial signing amongst the Rangers support and before any lurkers get excited that has nothing to do with his background. Daly is a 31-year-old who plays predominantly as a striker but has been utilised as a centre half for Dundee United last season. 

He has scored 73 goals in 203 appearances in Scotland so he is a fairly decent goalscorer. Personally, I believe Rangers should have a transfer policy in place where they do not sign any outfield player over the age of 27/28. Of course Daly does not fit into this category and Andy Little will be feeling pretty frustrated if Daly disposes him of his position. 

Furthermore, with Ally favouring a formation which incorporated a lone striker last season it leaves the question where does Daly fit into that? It leaves me visions of Jig playing the role rather unsuccessfully last season. However, one thing I will bring to the table is his reputation from United that he is brilliant when working with younger players. Perhaps as a long term view (something Rangers do seem to lack at the moment) is that he can work with fellow signing Nicky Clark to have him ready for our return to the top flight.

Nicky Clark - The most exciting of all our signings in my opinion. Clark, the son of former Ger Sandy, is a 22-year-old striker who is joining Rangers from Queen of the South. He scored a remarkable 41 goals in 46 games last season including 32 in the same league we will be playing in this season. He also scored a terrific goal against Rangers at Ibrox in the Ramsdens Cup. For me, he is a player full of potential and I just hope he gets his fair share of game time this season and that he is played as a striker and not stuck out on the wing, an all too familiar sight. Without question, Clark is the kind of model signing that our transfer policy should identify; low wages, young with a potential resale value.

Arnold Peralta - A 24-year-old midfielder who is also known to play at right back, from Honduras who has played 13 times for his country. I have never seen Peralta play but again he fits into the transfer policy I have referred to. Going by his quotes he seems desperate to play for Rangers and is probably looking at using us as a platform to the English Premiership which I have no issues with. I am quite excited to see what he has to offer but the obvious concern is how easily he will settle in. The central midfield area will be the most competitive area of the squad so hopefully this competitiveness will see more quality from the likes of Black and Hutton should they remain at the club.

Nicky Law - A 25-year-old midfielder signed from Motherwell. I’ll be honest, I watched a handful of SPL games last season and none of them involved Motherwell. However, again Law fits into the transfer policy and could be a good player upon our return to the top. As far as I can gather, Motherwell fans are pretty disappointed to be losing him and rate him as one of if not their best player last season. As with Peralta, he becomes another body in a congested midfield area. Another concern I have is the impact that these two signings will have on the progression of Lewis MacLeod. The brightest of our players from Auchenhowie and in my opinion the brightest player to come through the ranks since Barry Ferguson, I can only hope that his progression is not hampered by the signing of Law and Peralta.

Cammy Bell - Lifelong Rangers fan Bell is a 26-year-old goalkeeper who played for Kilmarnock last season. With the departure of Neil Alexander a new number one keeper was always going to be a top priority and McCoist snapped Bell up very quickly. His stand-out performance was against Celtic in Killie’s League Cup win in 2012 where he produced a number of outstanding saves. At 26, Bell is of an ideal age with sufficient experience to be our number one keeper for many years to come.

Stevie Smith - Smith is a 27-year-old left back who all Rangers fans will be familiar with due to his eight-year stint at the club between 2002 and 2010 where he made 56 appearances. My memories of Smith were of a very promising full back who was always hampered by frustrating injuries. In all honesty, Smith is a very uninspiring signing. It is inconceivable that Smith will displace Lee Wallace therefore the question must be asked where will he play? Just as back up? If this is the case then that is, in my opinion, a complete waste of a wage in what is already a very high wage bill. Surely we have a left back within our youth ranks who would be a fraction of the wages Smith will be on. Also, Andrew Mitchell showed at the tail end of last season that he is equally capable in both the full back positions and showed a sufficient amount of ability that would allow him to play as either a first choice right back or as back up to Wallace.

Ricky Foster - Foster, 27, is a versatile footballer who had a stint on loan at Rangers in season 2010/2011 in which he won a championship medal and also put in some solid performances in the Champions League. Again, I find Foster as a completely unnecessary signing and one which sums up McCoist’s, and the club as a whole, short term view. With Holiday Daz signing a new deal it yet again seems like a wage we could do without. I recently had a Rangers team of 11 right backs pointed out to me on Twitter. Although slightly far fetched, including Andy Little, it raised a serious point about the size of our squad. Nobody is debating that Foster is a decent player but he is nothing more and will undoubtedly impede the progress of a player like Andy Mitchell or even Ryan Sinnamon. We also have players such as Seb Faure, Anestis Argyriou and Chris Hegarty who can play there. 

Outs


Kane Hemmings - A player I thought had a lot of potential, especially after his four goals in seven games for Cowdenbeath in the First Division. However, with a current squad of 32 players, players are inevitably going to depart and with his continuous injury problems it may be the best for both parties. As of today Kane was on trial at Southend United.

Neil Alexander - A player who unlike many stayed for the fight. However, his large wage is unsustainable at the moment and with him, understandably, refusing a large wage reduction it was time to move on. He leaves with a large collection of medals and his performances on the way to Manchester will remain long in the memory.

Carlos Bocanegra - Captain America himself departed Rangers this week and will join Chivas in the USA. Another player who stayed and clearly has a deep affection for the club. It was a great shame he arrived when he did after being plunged in administration that season. He had the potential to play for Rangers for the rest of his career but it just wasn’t to be. All the best in the future.

Dorin Goian - Another player who stayed when many did not. A decent defender but it was sensible for both himself and the club to go separate ways. Again I wish him all the best.

Expectations


Given our astronomical wage bill for the level of football we are playing, along with some exciting signings, I don’t think it is unrealistic for the fans to expect a near 100% record in the league. The first month of fixtures will be fairly chaotic given that all our new signings can only play as trialists and each trialist can only play two games, therefore there will be no settled team until the middle of September. 

From that point however, some of the performances seen last season will not be tolerated from the support and rightly so. Serious questions were being asked of McCoist at times last season and they will resurface should we start dropping points on a regular basis. It would be reasonable to expect we gain more points this season that Queen of the South did last season. They lost two games and drew five thus winning 29 games in the league and also winning the Ramsden's Cup, a competition I fully expect and hope Rangers win this season as we will probably never get the chance to win it again, except next year of course.

As for the League Cup and Scottish Cup, I don’t really know what our expectations should be. Our performance against Motherwell was excellent but the subsequent performances against Inverness and Dundee Utd were nothing short of shambolic. McCoist has a very poor cup record and I would hope an improvement can be made in this area. In my opinion we should be able to beat every team in Scotland except one so we will need a degree of luck in terms of the draws. I also don’t believe that with our wage bill we shouldn’t be expecting this either.

One thing that is for sure is that we will continue to travel in numbers around Scotland supporting our team and ensuring that stage two is completed.

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Keep it civil, lads.