Rangers could be weaker after loss of Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey - Chris Sutton
Rangers might have been weakened over the summer despite closing in on a seventh transfer arrival at Ibrox, according to Chris Sutton.
Ridvan Yilmaz is expected to be the next man through the doors after a summer that has seen the club buy striker Antonio Colak, winger Rabbi Matondo and defender Ben Davies, while bringing in free agent duo Tom Lawrence and John Souttar, as well as securing a loan deal for Bayern Munich’s Malik Tillman.
Instead, the ex-Celtic striker believes, despite some good signings on paper, it is the two departures of Joe Aribo to Southampton and Calvin Bassey to Ajax that could be more important.
In his Daily Record column where he tells his former side they need to ignore what is happening at Ibrox just like he used to do when he was a player at Parkhead, he compares the eye-catching haul to the disappointing January captures of Aaron Ramsey and Amad Diallo.
“In terms of Rangers, there looks to be some decent signings on paper. We’ll have to wait and see but nothing is guaranteed.
“We all thought Amad Diallo was going to be a smash hit in these parts, but that didn’t quite work out.
“Same goes for Aaron Ramsay. He was the greatest capture since Gazza but barely made a mark.
“Regardless of the arrivals, I believe Rangers might have been weakened by the departures of Cavin Bassey and Joe Aribo, even if it has allowed them to slash the cash they made.
“The new arrivals will need to settle quickly because there’s not going to be any margin of error this season, that’s for sure.”
Obviously Sutton isn’t going to laud Rangers for a strong transfer window and has to point out the areas of mitigation because that is the nature of this rivalry.
It can’t be ignored that losing the two Nigerian internationals is a blow because they were both important contributors in their time at the club, with Bassey in particular excelling in the 2021/22 season.
But it was always a possibility, and for either side of the Old Firm divide it is tough to resist the advances of the English Premier League or European giants, not least when there are release clauses or club-record money involved.
All Ross Wilson and Giovanni van Bronckhorst could do in the circumstances is look to replace them are best as possible, and while it is also true that nothing is won on paper and the proof will be in how the new signings settle, both the gaps have at least been filled in good time.
In contrast the Hoops have actually spent a fair bit more money this year, primarily to make players who were on loan last season into permanent deals.
And they have also lost Tom Rogic, who scored in one of the Glasgow derbies last term, so there is certainly a debate to be had as to who has improved their squad more.
The Bhoys ended up title winners so it is the Gers’ responsibility to narrow the gap, but there is possibly a hint of concern in Sutton’s instructions to ignore the activity at Ibrox.