Rangers have a big summer ahead of them with the latest stage of a rebuild on the cards and doubts around the club’s ability to spend in the transfer market.
A number of players are expected to leave Ibrox at the end of their contracts, but there is still the potential for millions of pounds in profit if buyers can be found for some of those with a year or more left.
Michael Beale is expected to need multiple new arrivals as he continues to overhaul his squad in order to challenge Celtic for the title next season, so Glen Kamara, John Lundstram, Borna Barisic and Scott Wright could be on the way out for the cash boost they would provide.
None are bad players and all have contributed in their time at the club, although to a lesser extent with Wright, but unless Beale expects them to be central to his plans going forward they could be sacrificed for targets he wants, given they all arrived on free transfers or minimal fees, meaning sale proceeds will be almost pure profit.
Much has been made of Celtic’s ability to turn a profit in the transfer market, with the 10 year comparison between the two Glasgow rivals showing that the Hoops were £122million better off in profits over the period [Swiss Ramble, 14 November].
It obviously can’t be overlooked that the Gers were outside the SPFL for a large portion of that time, and the sales of Nathan Patterson, Calvin Bassey and Joe Aribo over the past two seasons has brought in big money.
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Douglas Park and his board have been under fire from supporters for a whole host of reasons, but ability to operate in the transfer market is one point of contention when it appears a lot of that money has gone towards solving financial issues behind the scenes.
With high-profile attacking duo Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos’ contracts expiring, there are fears that there is nothing to generate profit in the current squad, and while there is nowhere near the £19.6million that Bassey brought in [Sky Sports, 20 July], there could still be value to extract.
The four are valued at a combined €23.5million [£20.7million] by Transfermarkt, even if that is likely over-generous, and while it is not an exact science because a player is ultimately worth whatever a club is willing to pay, it shows there is something there.
Kamara is widely seen as the most saleable asset with a contract that runs until 2025, and while there might not be the market for him that there was after he was a key part of the 55th title-winning side he could feasibly bring £5million, with Nico Raskin already brought in to take his place.
Lundstram quickly became a fan-favourite as Rangers made it to the Europa League final last season, but his form has dropped off this year and with Beale in favour of renewing Ryan Jack’s contract [Glasgow World, 12 March] the former Sheffield United man could go.
He will have a year left in the summer but as a free transfer signing anything he brings in would be profit, and with 62 appearances in the English Premier League he could fetch a few million if a side south of the border is on the lookout.
Barisic was heavily-linked with a move away at the end of the summer window as Nottingham Forest [Mail on Sunday, 14 August, page.141] and Trabzonspor were interested, and while his delivery from the left is outstanding he has often been found out defensively in the biggest games.
Money has been spent on Ridvan Yilmaz and Adam Devine proved decent cover at the start of the Beale reign, so as a Croatian international who went to the World Cup and with 12-months left on his deal he could be an attractive option if his market remains.
Barisic cost £2.2million back in 2018 so after five seasons of amortisation his accounting value will be minimal and a sale would again bank nearly all as profit, with £4million mooted last summer [Football Scotland, 10 June].
Wright cost £200,000 for his pre-contract arrival to be brought forward to January 2021, and he will still have two years left on his current deal come the summer.
His transfer value is likely the lowest as he has never had a real run in the Rangers side and doesn’t look to be part of the future, but anything over £100,000 would be profit at Ibrox if a club was interested.
It is easier said than done and may not total a King’s ransom, but the club are going to have to get creative if they want to put the heat on Celtic, and fees for all those players plus Kent, Morelos, Allan McGregor and others off the wage bill should help.
It is not impossible that players brought in last summer could leave, and should any of those with just a year left sign contract extensions and still be sold it would boost their fees as well, so Rangers fans can retain some hope that the necessary reinforcements might still be brought in.
In other Rangers news, a Scottish manager wants the club to hand over £50million to help other SPFL clubs as part of a plan he believes will happen.