The Scottish transfer window slammed shut at 11.30pm on Thursday. Rangers fans are asking two questions.

Why did we not sign a new number 9?

With injuries to our centre forwards Danilo and Kemar Roofe as well as players who can cover in the central position - Abdallah Sima and young Zak Lovelace it leaves us with only one fit player to play as our number 9 - Cyriel Dessers. So we entered the January transfer window with strengthening our centre forward position as a key priority…and we did.

Rangers announced the loan signing of Fabio Silva from Wolves on the 28th December - before the window even opened. So the real question is did we sign the correct centre forward?

Most supporters, myself included, wanted us to go and sign an out and out striker - a prolific goalscorer. There is one of them just along the M8. It’s unclear if we ever had an interest in Lawrence Shankland. Reports suggest that we scouted him a couple of times during January. The words from many ‘he could be the difference in the league’ could be true but at what price? It’s clear Philippe Clement is building a squad with a specific profile. Lawrence Shankland is neither young, high profile or pacey. Turning 29 in August this was possibly the last chance Lawrence Shankland could have to make his dream move to his boyhood club come true. The truth is Hearts most likely priced him and us out of the move.

We most likely monitored his contract talks closely in case they lowered their asking price but how much should we be prepared to pay for a player who is assumed to be able to hit the ground running, ticks the domestically trained quota but has zero or minimal re-sale value. A figure in the region of £2-3m could have possibly enticed Hearts into doing business but it’s worth noting that our annual results showed we don’t have a lot in the bank and FFP have been quoted previously as sniffing around the club. Just look down south at the lack of major activity during a typically difficult transfer window. The manager said himself we have done well to bring three players in compared to the wider market. Should we have broke the bank to sign a player who isn’t guaranteed to be in our starting XI this season and definitely won’t be after the summer when Danilo returns and we likely enter back into the transfer market - with a bigger budget and most likely to sign a first choice striker?

Fabio Silva was likely signed for his versatility, especially given Sima was representing Senegal at AFCON prior to picking up a serious injury. Silva is also player who can play across the front line but I was vocal after he signed that we needed a prolific goalscorer and a pacey winger which he is neither. Nils Koppen has worked with Fabio Silva previously at PSV where he impressed for the remaining 6 months whilst only scoring 5 goals in 19 games in all competitions. Apparently Nils Koppen presented a list of January transfer targets during his interview process and Fabio Silva was right at the top so he got his man, we have to hope he is the right one and neither he nor the in-form Dessers pick up an injury in a position we are now very light until Roofe, Sima and Lovelace return from injury. The manager seems happy with his forward options and Fabio Silva’s goal at the weekend against Livingston will give him a lot of confidence, it’s time to get behind him in our pursuit of further silverware this season. 

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Did we do enough?

Quite frankly, only time will tell. We enter into every transfer window with one goal: to come out stronger than we entered it and I believe we did that.

We needed another centre forward and signed one, despite the discontent amongst the Rangers support. We needed a pacey ball carrying winger and we signed one. The big question for Oscar Cortes is can he hit the ground running and make an immediate impact? Only turning 20 at the end of the 2023 he is young and his performances at the U20 World Cup where he was voted as 3rd best player of the tournament raised his profile and earned him a move to Lens but he didn’t play as much as he would have liked - mostly because of the formation the French team play. He’ll be hoping to feature more regularly for Rangers and the option to buy allows us to turn the move permanent if he impresses.

Thereafter there was no immediate concerns within the squad. There are a number of positions of course in the starting XI and squad that we could improve and will hopefully do so in the summer, particularly the left side of our central defence. But Philippe Clement opted to strengthen our central midfield with the capture of Mohamed Diomande. The boss stated previously he wanted a central ball carrier with pace, which Diomande absolutely brings in abundance, but this may be about the timing and not wanting to miss the opportunity to sign a player in his long term plans. Supporters must note that the Danish league was in their pre-season so he is still getting up to speed and unlikely to be thrown into the starting XI immediately. We may need to be a little patient with him as he builds his fitness and settles into a new club, country and culture.

Another big story this window was the players who did and did not leave Rangers. With confirmed departures for Sam Lammers on loan to FC Utrecht, Adam Devine on loan to Motherwell and retirement of legendary Ranger Steven Davis we turn our attention to the players who remained.

Rangers confirmed we knocked back an offer for super Jack Butland in goals from Nottingham Forest. The fee is unknown but so late in the window I’m glad to see our POTY contender remain between the sticks for the remainder of the season and his calmness and leadership could prove crucial. But I think we need to evolve as a football club and fan base, and be realistic that Jack Butland like every player in the Rangers squad has his price and if a team comes knocking in the summer we may lose a top quality goalkeeper - at significant profit after signing him from Crystal Palace on a Bosman during the summer of 23/24.

The saga of the January transfer window belonged to Ridvan Yilmaz. There was a lot of speculation of interest in Italy and back home in Turkey, with Rangers rumoured to have rejected a significant offer from Galatasaray late in the window. There are multiple elements to this. On one hand the sale of Ridvan Yilmaz may have provided the funds to further strengthen our front line and with a deal supposedly agreed for Jefté of Fluminese we had his replacement lined up. That deal for the 20 year old Brazilian appears to be merely postponed until the summer and he remains on loan to Cypriot club APOEL Nicosia. However on the other, we have retained a player recruited during the summer of 22/23 with big potential who until now has failed to hit top form - largely due to injury setbacks. But recently he has arguably been one of our standout performers relishing a regular run of games, with a smile on his face and we are beginning to see why the club signed him from Besiktas for big money originally. Hopefully with Ridvan staying and fighting for a place in the Turkey squad for Euro 24 we will continue to see top performances and his value may increase between now and the summer.

Lastly I understand the club were actively looking to move on Ben Davies and Jose Cifuentes. The latter supposedly rejected a loan move to Turkish side Rizespor and is now rumoured to be heading back to South America to Brazilian club Cruzeiro with their transfer window remaining open until 7th March. It’s a deal which would make sense for the club and player who doesn’t seem to have settled following his summer move from LAFC but the manager praised his attitude. With the addition of Mohamed Diomande his playing time at Rangers would be even less.

With the additions during the January transfer window, the players retained and also importantly the players returning from injury such as Tom Lawrence and Ryan Jack there is a huge opportunity to win our 56th top flight title and we are all behind the manager and his players. Let’s hope by May we are all celebrating, reflecting on a positive January transfer window and look forward to another summer of squad transformation under our new manager and Director of Football Recruitment in place.

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