Rangers fend off Celtic and Manchester City to sign Bailey Rice
Rangers have won the race to sign Motherwell starlet Bailey Rice having beaten Old Firm rivals Celtic and Premier League champions Manchester City.
The Light Blues confirmed the news via their official academy Twitter account with the 15-year-old set to join up with the Under-18s squad, managed by Cameron Campbell and Steven Smith.
Football Scotland reported of Manchester City’s interest in the Scot but they have ultimately been thwarted by English Premier League rules preventing them from making a move before he turns 16 years of age.
Just two days ago though it looked to be an Old Firm battle to sign Rice as the Daily Record reported via their print edition (28 June, page 44) that the Hoops from across the city were hoping to hijack our attempt.
As he was yet to sign professional terms at Fir Park, Rangers have only had to pay a compensation fee to Motherwell having shone for their Under-17s side throughout last season.
We’ve seen a fair few youngsters from across Scotland arrive at Auchenhowie recently but this is the biggest of the lot when you look at the competition we faced.
There is understandably a lot of hype surrounding Rice having already represented Scotland at youth level and looked like a really promising prospect every time he has stepped onto the pitch.
It is surprising how tall he is given his tender age but he looks to be a player who could already cope with the physicality of the Scottish Premiership should Giovanni van Bronckhorst require him.
For now, though, let’s give him the space and time to find his feet in Glasgow and develop in the club’s academy and maybe we can start to get excited when he establishes himself in the B team.
Playing senior football every week in the Lowland League will be the last hurdle he has to negotiate before he gets that first-team call-up but that will be a good two or three years away yet.