It’s easy to see why Borna Barisic would be attracted by the prospect of a move to AS Roma.
The thriving full-back has emerged as a target for the Serie A giants, per Sunday Post, and the club are willing to dig deep to secure his signature.
Roma are one of the most prestigious clubs in Italy, boasting a rich history of success and regular involvement in Europe’s elite knockout competition, while the attraction of the capital city speaks for itself.
But from Rangers’ perspective a mid-season sale of a vital cog in their machine is bordering on unthinkable with an SPFL title firmly in Steven Gerrard’s sights.
In response to the report, Charlie Nicholas has suggested a deal worth £7m or £8m “wouldn’t be a bad return”, per Daily Express (via Daily Record). A sale in that region, however, would be a gross undervaluation under the circumstances.
From Barisic’s electric form this season, which has seen him provide 13 assists across all competitions, to Rangers’ need for stability at a crucial juncture in their perpetual progress under Gerrard, there are a multitude of reasons to suggest the club would be well within their rights to demand a record-breaking fee for the Croatia international.
But perhaps the most pertinent slice of evidence lies within Celtic’s transfer business in the 2019 summer window, with the £25m sale of Kieran Tierney setting a benchmark for Scotland’s behemoth clubs.
The largest fee Rangers have ever received for a player was back in 2008 when Tottenham Hotspur swooped to secure Alan Hutton in a £9m deal. Twelve years later, however, it’s fair to say Rangers are in a commanding position to receive a fee well in excess of that.
In the Premier League we have already seen Manchester City’s transfer exploits setting the benchmark.
One deal can put the power into the selling team’s hands, and Celtic’s sale of Tierney could do exactly that for the Gers. After all, Barisic, like Tierney, is also a full international and a stark defensive player who can also influence the game in the final third.
The 27-year-old’s struggle to hit the ground running last season suggests he hasn’t proven his credentials over a lengthy period of time, but add in a January premium and it’s fair to say Rangers have every right to point to the activity of their Glasgow rivals as justification to command a massive fee for Barisic.
Everyone at Ibrox will be eager to hold onto a player who has been transformed in the 2019/20 season, but if they are forced onto the negotiating table the sale of Celtic’s formerly cherished left-back should enable them to leverage a record fee.
It will be intriguing to see exactly how deep Paulo Foncesca is willing to dig in this emerging pursuit.