In Focus: Cross-border deals still majorly attractive for the likes of Celtic and Rangers

As reported by The Sun, both Celtic and Rangers are showing interest in signing Sunderland midfielder Ethan Robson during the summer transfer window.

What’s the story?

The January window may have only just closed, but already there’s speculation about who clubs are targeting at the end of the season as contracts run out and new ambitions are determined.

Celtic and Rangers don’t often compete for the signing of the same targets anymore, something that’s a relic of a time when both sides were on more equal financial footing.

However, it appears they’re both admirers of the same Championship talent.

The Sun report that both are interested in Ethan Robson, with his contract at Sunderland due to expire at the end of the season.

The paper say that while his market value is around £2m, Scottish sides could bring him north for just a £150,000 compensation deal, capitalising on cross-border FIFA rules.

Who is he?

Captain of the Black Cats’ U23s side, Robson hasn’t quite established himself as a regular first-team talent at the Stadium of Light as they battle relegation in the English Championship. He’s made 7 appearances so far this season, his only experience of first-team football so far in his career.

While not the most impressive record, the fact he is available for a small compensation fee is a huge advantage for both Glasgow clubs, similar to the deals that brought the likes of Joe Ledley and Moussa Dembele to Scottish football.

Celtic have found success following that route previously and Rangers imitating that makes sense, even if it means going head to head with the Hoops in the transfer market.

Brendan Rodgers and Graeme Murty both like to work with young players, developing them with regular first team football, and that could be huge for a player like Robson’s development.