Today, at the manager’s pressers, Ange seemed like a man contented, a man who knows exactly what the next few weeks hold and is looking forward to them. There is a lot to look forward to, at the end of the day, and he knows it.
We look as if we have a new player incoming, and there might even be one more. He did say “one or two” players were still on his list and so the spending might not be done yet. Ange looks at his squad and his club and knows that he is a man in total command.
Listening to Sevco’s boss, there was a slight panic in his voice when he talked about how “crazy things” happen towards the end of a transfer window, and he has good reason to worry about what “crazy things” might be around the corner for his club.
Three key players – Ryan Jack, Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent – have yet to sign new deals, although the media was briefed weeks ago that they were on the brink of doing just that. And you know, they still might wind up inking new contracts.
But all three know that their opportunities for the moves they want are slipping away. Jack’s has probably gone already although there’s a chance that a decent sized Championship team in England might give him something good if he can pass a medical.
Morelos and Kent believe they are good enough to play at a higher level. They both believe they should be earning significantly higher salaries, and when they see even mediocre players down south earning fortunes they think they can have a piece of that.
I don’t know if either of them is going to sign a new deal. The club was quick to get rid of Aribo when he made it clear that he wouldn’t sign one, which is why some in the media believe Morelos and Kent might yet stay … but there was also an offer on the table for the midfielder and that’s not the case with either of these two players.
For the manager, this is all very simple; as long as they are at the club he wants them in the team and for him he’d probably not be terribly bothered if they left at the end of the season for free, just as long as they could do him a turn whilst still in the building.
The problem for him comes with knowing that if these guys don’t sign new deals now – in the next fortnight – that the club has essentially lost control of the situation. Both are free to talk to whoever they want in January, and leave on a free next summer.
The media has put not one bit of pressure on the club over this stuff, not one bit, which you know full well would not be the case if this was Celtic in this positon, but whether they want to or not the manager himself is well aware of how this could turn out and you can tell that he’s nervous, because if those deals are done late he’s not going to be able to replace either player.
But the bean counters at the club are the ones driving this process and he knows it and that’s why he’s worried about it. He’s not the only one at Ibrox who is. It would be a huge embarrassment to lose either of these guys for free … and they are two weeks away from the prospect that both of them will walk out the door and net them nothing.
As we look forward to the next few weeks, the mood over there is very different. Aside from some huge games they have this hanging over them. A manager can do without that sort of stuff. Van Bronckhorst is stuck with it.