The signing of Ryan Kent in the summer transfer window divided opinion at Ibrox.
The mercurial playmaker blew hot and cold in his opening season, providing moments of euphoria and frustrating disappointment in often unpredictable patterns.
A season return of six goals and six assists from 23 SPFL appearances alluded to a level of final third influence worth pursuing for the club, but how high would the Gers be willing to go?
Determined to build upon the foundations he established in his maiden campaign, Steven Gerrard slipped £7.5m into his former club’s pocket to secure Kent’s signature on a permanent basis.
Even the starkest of cynics and conspiracy theorists would have been harsh to suggest Gerrard was bribing his way into the Liverpool manager’s job, but not everyone was convinced he was worthy of that price tag despite his success last season.
But a recent strike in Rangers’ Old Firm derby triumph saw him repay that fee ten times over in a game which could yet represent a significant watershed moment in the club’s history.
In light of his recent Hollywood moment, the former Rangers winger Mark Walters had this to say about the 23-year-old, per Glasgow Times.
“Kent’s goal against Celtic was a great striker and he will take a lot of confidence from it. Going forward, he could be a game-changer.”
The hope now is that he will kick on and become a big game player for the club, one who can provide the attacking impetus to ensure the Gers top the SPFL table come May.
But it was another aspect of Walters’ comments that alluded to a broader significance of Kent’s presence at the club and Mark Wilson’s transfer strategy.
“When you sign guys of Kent’s quality, it means that other players in the squad know they need to keep their standard up. If you don’t perform, you lose your place. As a footballer, that’s the biggest motivation you can get.”
That Kent is individually driving the standard up in the dressing room can be seen in Rangers’ performance so far this season. While he certainly wasn’t a unanimously popular signing, there was no disputing he arrived from a background of pedigree and his quality has raised the bar at Ibrox.
The Athletic’s Jordan Campbell recently suggested that Wilson will target players between 20 and 24 with resale value, and Kent’s recent derby day success shows that could prove to be a successful approach.
He is far from the finished article, but with plenty of scope for improvement his talent could easily outgrow his £7.5m price tag in the future.
A transfer strategy championing players of Kent’s profile and calibre appears to be the path to progress for Gerrard.