The media is doing its best to spin it, and the Ibrox manager is talking nonsense about how the club has matters in its own hands, but the board over there has started, at last, to contemplate the abyss that awaits them in the summer.
The Ibrox cupboard should be full. This is what we’re always told; they are back on a sound financial footing and there is nothing to fear. Still, the last few weeks have given them a battering and a half.
Their club is not in the good place they want people to believe.
When they contemplated this summer from the safety of the one just past, they never anticipated replacing a management team, or the crash of the Hummel court case.
The Australia case loomed, yes, but some of the problems which now look immediate were still happily far off. Those troubles are now on their doorstep alongside others which have come shrieking over the horizon.
Chris Jack says the club is resigned to losing four footballers; Arfield, McGregor, Davis and Jack. You’ll notice a few names missing from that list. Namely, Helander, Kent and Morelos.
All expensive. All guys they might have got money for at one time.
Ross Wilson gave an interview yesterday which was so divorced from reality that it’s extraordinary. His public take on it, at least, was that the club had done just fine in terms of the contracts. He talked about how players over a certain age should only get one year deals, as if that was the issue fans over there are concerned about.
Wilson knows it too, since he’s not actually a stupid as he comes across. They have a team depending on aging veterans instead of cycling these guys out for younger players, and now they find themselves having to replace the better part of their midfield, and this before the Kent and Morelos decisions, which now loom ever larger.
They continue to look at the shocking state we were in – thanks in no small part to our former untitled director of football and the shambles he presided over in his final year as CEO – and that gives them hope.
But that fantasy has the substance of air.
We sold two massive players for huge fees in order to pay for that rebuild and because of Ange showed imagination in the transfer market that Ross Wilson has never been able to muster in his life.
He is the guy whose answer to the Ange football machine last season was to bring in an unproven Manchester United loanee because he signed for them for a big fee and the clapped out has-been who missed the Seville penalty and was a contributing factor in Wales exiting the World Cup in such disgrace and ignominy.
Ramsey was a pure bling signing and a colossal waste of money, and not the only one during Wilson’s time as their “transfer guru.”
Their summer signings were Ibrox fan nightmare fuel.
He talks about how you’ll see the best of Souttar and Lawrence after they return from injury; these guys are still on the treatment table right now and have been out of action so long they’ll need weeks to get up to speed in training and more weeks to get match fit. Their projected return dates – to training – are still far off. Their fans will be lucky to see these players come March.
This is the least of their worries.
It’s the summer, when their squad will be cut to the bone by departures on free contracts, which are keeping these Peepul awake at night. Wilson’s defence of the strategy that got them here is his way of preparing the fans for what is to come and telling them that nobody is panicking … but that he’s had to make a statement at all on it shows how worried they are.
They do not know how they are going to do this.
One way is to use the free transfer market.
That’s a strategy I once thought Celtic might utilise, and I used to spend ages looking at out of contract players to see if there were any bargains to be had. It’s rare, and most of the guys you might think would be worth a punt are over 30 and don’t fit our signing profile. They are also the most likely to have offers from all across Europe.
Ibrox fans labour under the fantasy that their club will benefit from having a manager who knows the English market; they must be the dumbest fans in Europe not to realise that there is no transfer zone in the European football arena which offers less value for money. English clubs can no longer easily sign talent from abroad.
Their domestic market is more bloated, with higher prices and wage demands, than it has ever been.
Good luck finding bargains there.
There’s a reason many of us have described the signing of Matt O’Riley as like armed robbery without using a gun. He was a diamond in a field of sand, and I am still astounded that we were able to pick him up so cheaply. I consider that Ange’s finest hour in the transfer market, and it was clear a ton of work went into it.
The Ibrox club will have to do much better than they have up until now, and Wilson defending his record is only going to go so far. They don’t have the serious money needed to go after really quality and in the absence of that he’s relying on luck.
Would you go up against Ange Postecoglou armed only with that?