07 January 2013

Andy McGowan's 'Everything transfers'

by Andy McGowan | CRO Contributor

2013 is sure to be a big year for Rangers. There is the looming potential powder-keg of the dual contracts tribunal due to take place on January 29th, despite the SPL having decided on their punishment almost eight months before the tribunal has even heard the evidence.

There are also big changes to come in and around Ibrox as the plans for the IPO funding begin to come together over the next 12 months. And Rangers also have a large part to play in supporting the SFL with reconstruction talks coming to a head sooner rather than later and there’s the small matter of wrapping up the 3rd division title to attend to.

Before these issues take centre stage however Rangers have a transfer window to negotiate, which on the surface would appear to be something of a non-event with a registration embargo in place preventing the club bringing in any player over the age of 18 until September 1st.

There is of course the thorny issue of players going in the other direction, as well as the club now being free to speak to players whose contracts expire in the summer allowing us to sign them up on contracts to be registers as free agents on September 1st.

Potential Outs

Kane Hemmings: Having just returned from a serious knee injury Rangers have allowed Hemmings to go on loan to Cowdenbeath until the end of January to regain some match sharpness, but a more long term loan until the summer could be on the cards if it suits all parties concerned.

Lee Wallace: Comfortably Rangers most consistent player so far this campaign, there will be clubs in the Championship and lower reaches of the EPL who will see Wallace as good value as his market value diminished with the club in the 3rd division. But, having decided to stay on with the club, it certainly doesn’t seem like Lee is in a hurry to move on, and with Rangers in a much stronger position financially than when Charles Green took the club in the summer their resistance to any bid for the clubs biggest assets will be significantly increased.

Kamil Wiktorski: Despite other youth players making an impression on the first team Kamil has yet to be given the chance to do so, and with his contract set to expire in the summer he may move on sooner rather than later.

Andrew Mitchell:  Much like Wiktorski, Mitchell has yet to see first team action this season and is also out of contract in the summer. Mitchell looked to have something to offer last season when given his debut at Dundee United, but will find it difficult to displace the likes of David Templeton, Dean Shiels and Frasier Aird who can all play in his favoured left midfield position, although it is more likely he will sign a new deal before heading out on loan to gain some much needed first team football than leave the club permanently.

Francesco Stella: Having signed on the last day of the transfer window Rangers supporters have seen just 12 minutes of Stella in first team action. Other than this his brief game time has been confined to bounce matches. A loan stint may be just what Francesco requires although it would not be a surprise to see him return to Italy or Australia for good.

Barrie McKay: Before a ball had been kicked in anger this season McKay had been linked with a move to Everton. He has looked a player full of potential and has the speed to glide past players. His recent performances will have done little to put off clubs looking to the future of their first teams. Much like Lee Wallace, however, it is doubtful Barrie will be in a rush to leave his boyhood club where he has quickly become a fan favourite.

Potential Bosman Deals

Ryan McGowan: Having been subject to a transfer bid from Rangers in the summer McGowan is certainly a player who Ally McCoist could find himself looking at again in the coming weeks. However, it looks more likely that having already rejected the club’s advances once McGowan will take up the big money offer from Chinese outfit Shandong Luneng, although it has been suggested that this is a short-term solution leaving the door open for Rangers again towards the end of 2013 when the clubs league standing is more clear.

Andrew Shinnie: Since leaving Rangers in the summer of 2011 Shinnie has looked impressive at Inverness Caledonian Thistle, scoring 14 goals in 38 league appearances, and with first team football a more realistic target second time round Shinnie could make a quick fire return to Ibrox.

Cammy Bell: Rumours of Cammy Bell making the switch to Rangers have been persistent for several seasons now with the latest round coming in 2011 and surfacing again in December of last year. Bell is a match for most keepers on his day and is a fantastic shot stopper as he has displayed on more than one occasion in the big matches in Scotland. He is perhaps unlucky to have only a single international cap to his name, but a move to Ibrox could certainly put him in the frame for more caps in the future when the club is back at the top of the Scottish game. It is reported that Bell is set to sign a new five year deal at Kilmarnock in the coming weeks. If McCoist is keen on the stopper a quick swoop is required.

Murray Davidson:  Davidson was subject of a bid from Rangers in the Summer of Whyte. Sadly, like many other bids in 2011, a deal never materialised with the club being criticised for its behaviour under Craig Whyte. Now that Davidson is on a new deal it is presumable that Ally is still keen on the midfielder and much like Cammy Bell may see the move to Ibrox as a way to increase his chances at international level in the future.

Christophe Berra: Since leaving Hearts for Wolves in 2009 Berra has gone on to make 136 appearances in the EPL and the Championship, as well as becoming one of Scotland’s first centre back pairing. In August of 2012 Berra requested a transfer away from Wolves and a return to Scotland may be appealing if Rangers can offer him favourable terms. Although it is unlikely Berra would play in the SFL 2, a reconstructed SPL may be of interest to him.

Scott McDonald: Unlikely to be a popular choice among Rangers fans there have been rumours of the former Celtic striker making the move back to Scotland from Middlesbrough, and although his best scoring days seem to be behind him he certainly could do a job for the club should it be something that appeals to both player and manager.

André Bikey: Having been linked to the club in both 2011 and 2012 summer transfer windows it would seem likely that Bikey is of some interest to Ally McCoist. Originally linked as part of a deal seeing Kyle Lafferty go the other way it is reported he was offered a deal to sign for the club this summer but chose to stay in England. Having had a good spell at Boro he may not want to leave, but in the event he does rumours are sure to resurface about a move to Scotland.

George Boyd: The long serving Peterborough winger has been subject of moves to several clubs over the years with nothing quite coming off. With his deal set to expire and a desire to make the move from the Scotland B team to the full squad a move to Rangers might be a step in the right direction. However, if Boyd is a player on Rangers radar they will likely face competition from clubs in the Championship and the lower reaches of the EPL making it unlikely.

Tom Cairney: The Hull City midfielder is currently playing for the Scotland under 21s and is exactly the type of player Rangers should be looking at. Now is the time for bringing in young players, and with 64 league appearances for Hull Cairney represents less of a risk than other young players having already had several seasons of first team experience.

Kirk Broadfoot: He’s never been all that popular with the Rangers supporters but letting him leave was for my money a mistake. Bringing home Broadfoot so quickly after releasing him may seem odd but there’s no denying Rangers have struggled at the back this season and who better to bring in than a man who knows the club?

Other potential targets: Andy Driver (Hearts), Marius Zaliukas (Hearts), Darren Randolph (Motherwell), Tom Hateley (Motherwell), Chris Humphrey (Motherwell), Craig Beattie (St Johnstone), DJ Campbell (QPR), Scott Arfield (Huddersfield Town),  Andy Halliday (Middlesbrough).

Whatever happens in the coming days in January the priority is of course keeping hold of the club’s best and brightest assets. Talk of Bosman deals begins this month and are likely only to be discussed for the majority of players towards the beginning of the summer, but we all get excited discussing potential future Rangers so why not?

If you’d like to suggest some other potential players I may have missed give me a tweet: @iEmpire_andy