According to Chris Sutton via The Evening Times, Rangers have panicked on the last day of the transfer window in splashing the cash on Ryan Kent. An act that according to Sutton is “a final throw of the dice and an act of desperation from Rangers”.
Where do you even start with this? Almost as soon as last season ended in The Herald, Steven Gerrard made it clear that he wanted to sign Kent for at least another season with the Rangers manager believing that another loan deal was their best chance of getting him back up the M6.
Rangers first fixture of the season was on the 9th of July which meant transfer business had to be done early. With Kyle Lafferty, Eduardo Herrera, Eros Grezda and Daniel Candeias all deemed surplus to requirements by The Sun, re-enforcements had to be secured as soon as possible. Glenn Middleton was also allowed to leave which left Rangers short in attacking areas.
Sutton questioned the signings of Jake Hastie, now on loan at Rotherham United, Greg Stewart, Jordan Jones and Sheyi Ojo. He raised doubts over Kent being the one they always wanted, and if so, why bother with them?
Hastie showed great promise in the second half of last season, he’s far from the finished article but Rangers were able to pick him up for a meagre development fee after his Motherwell contract ended. If it doesn’t work out Rangers will still be able to sell him at a profit. Jones was signed for free, as was Stewart and Ojo is on loan from Liverpool.
There is a recurring theme here. Four players signed for almost nothing. Three of them with proven league experience. Ojo and Jones have already contributed significantly in getting Rangers to the Europa League group stages. Stewart so far, has struggled to make an impact but he is clearly seen as third choice behind Alfredo Morelos and Jermain Defoe. He has, however, managed a couple of assists in less than 200 minutes of competitive action.
The Kent “saga” has always been quite open and honest between the three parties – Kent, Rangers and Liverpool. Liverpool didn’t want to loan him out again. Rangers couldn’t afford to buy him at the initial £10m fee quoted and Kent wanted to sign for Rangers. There were a few key moments that would decide Kent’s destination. The most important, for Rangers, being that no clubs in England were successful in trying to sign him on a permanent deal. The second, is Rangers qualifying for the Europa League group stages.
Both of these factors meant the deal was always going to go down to the last week and days of the transfer window. Gerrard said as much. And it did. Coincidentally, the last day of the Scottish transfer window was the day after Rangers were defeated in the Old Firm derby at Ibrox. Michael Stewart went down the “where are they getting the money from” route, whilst Sutton got his fishing rod out.
Rangers signing a young, promising, long-term target for almost half the original quoted price and as the previous season’s Young Player of the Year is the very definition of a sound transfer policy. Not quite risk free, but not far off it. The Guardian even rated it as one of the ten best value for money deals in Europe this summer.
Sutton should look closer to home if he wants the textbook panic signing. His old club Celtic payed £3m for a left-back on deadline day after they had already signed a left-back for £3m earlier in the window. Has his old friend Neil Lennon decided Boli Bolingoli might not be up to the job after just a few games? Sutton tried his best, bless him, but the biggest catch was Rangers clinching the deal of a player that tore Sutton’s beloved Celtic apart on more than one occasion last season. Kent will be a key player for Rangers if they want to dislodge Celtic from the top of Scottish football, only time will tell if it is £7m well spent.