The transfer window is open! Hurrah!
OK, OK. I'm not that excited. However, we still have some questions to consider, after I attempted to move on six first team players in Part 1 of my Transfer Window Preview:
What positions do Rangers need to fill in this window?
Who could they sign to fill those positions?
Let's start at the back. As far as goalkeepers are concerned Rangers are in a very strong position. As well as having two experienced professionals competing for the number 1 jersey, there are an abundance of young stoppers who have represented their countries all through the age groups. We don't need any activity in this department, for years to come, we'd hope.
Across the defence, both Cardoso and Alves have question marks over their heads during this window. The situation looks a tad concerning if either or both players move on. We could be left with just Wilson, Bates and McCrorie as senior centre-backs. There is more young talent to come from Auchenhowie in this position, but we wouldn't want to have to rely on this week-in, week-out; there is a Scottish Premiership title to be won.
If we work on the assumption that Fabio Cardoso will return to Portugal in the next few weeks, having barely featured under Graeme Murty, who could we bring in to replace him?
Dundee's 22-year-old Jack Hendry has recently been linked by a Scottish newspaper with a move to Celtic. The speculation suggests a fee would be somewhere between £500,000-£1.5million. If that was the case, he should surely also be a person of interest for Rangers, depending on which side of the Glasgow divide he sits on. Newcastle United and Crystal Palace were also named in the article, but Hendry has already moved to England once before and failed to make the grade. Scottish football data and Twitter tactical analyst, @TheSPFLRadar, tweeted yesterday to suggest Hendry "isn't ready for Celtic yet". Would he be ready for Rangers?
Someone who has more experience and has been linked to Rangers in Norwich and Scotland central defender Russell Martin. The right-sided player has recently fell out of favour in England and could move back north in an affordable way. The performances of his Scotland partner Christophe Berra at Hearts may help negate any worries some Rangers fans may have.
At full-back, Rangers have already completed the permanent signing of Declan John. This maintains Rangers' current status with just three fit senior full-backs. Lee Wallace has been nearly ready to return for a while now, and you'd have to expect he'll be back before the end of the window. Again, there are young lads available to provide further cover. As long as we keep hold of Tavernier, I wouldn't be pushing for any hasty recruitment in this area - as weak as our current options are defensively.
Moving in to midfield, when all are fit, we have good options in the middle. McCrorie has been a revelation at holding mid and Jamie Barjonas is ready to play a regular part too, from what I have seen. However, with Rossiter, Jack and Dorrans all injured, you could suggest a loan signing might be beneficial. Based on an article in the Scottish Sun a few days back, it would seem moves are afoot to bring in Arsenal's England U19 international combative midfielder, Marcus McGuane. I can't tell you much about him, but the article suggests a number of clubs across Europe would be interested in his services. McGuane has come off the bench for Arsenal in the Champions League this season, but he is hardly competing for a place in the first team.
In the wide areas, with Josh Windass linked away, Rangers may have to find at least one new recruit in this area in case Windass does attract a large enough offer. In my opinion, the number one target in the Premiership for Rangers should be Jordan Jones. The Kilmarnock winger created a whole host of problems for James Tavernier in the recent fixture and he looks like he could provide good service for Alfredo Morelos up top. Rangers were heavily linked with Jamie Walker throughout the last window, but since then Walker has hardly impressed. I wouldn't like Rangers to renew their interest at this stage. We should also remember that Michael O'Halloran will return to Rangers this week, which bolsters numbers at wing and full-back if nothing else.
The 'number 10' position is possibly the most critical area for Graeme Murty to seek something new. Alfredo Morelos is the top scorer in the league, but it could be double that if he had a better supporting play-maker to work with. Neither Niko Krancjar or Carlos Peña are capable of effectively supporting Morelos, and with Kenny Miller injured, it seems inevitable that Rangers will recruit in this area if at least Peña can be moved on. Are there any players in Scotland who could be a benefit to Rangers in this area? I'd need to do more homework before making a genuine suggestion.
Finally, up front we are also struggling for someone, anyone, other than Morelos to make a worthwhile contribution this season. With Kenny Miller injured, Eduardo Herrera hopefully finding a return to Mexico and Ryan Hardie probably not good enough (if we're honest), Rangers need to invest in this position. The Louis Moult ship has already sailed, and I am quite disappointed that Rangers did not even attempt to sign him. We should be signing players like Moult when they show that they have the right attributes to play for us. Rangers would probably have to look outside Scotland to fill this position; preferably not Mexico.
If I've missed any blatantly obvious hot prospects from Scotland that we should be talking about, please log on to Gersnet or Twitter and let us know!
Here's hoping for a happy new year and productive transfer window!
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