Keith Jackson has briefed Sevco fans to prepare for a January fire sale with Ross Wilson the centre of attention.
Billed as a transfer guru when he replaced Mark Allen two years ago Wilson has failed to bring in a worthwhile fee despite overseeing four transfer windows.
Looking ahead to player sales next month Jackson warns Wilson that ‘His job security may very well depend upon it’.
The wage bill has ballooned up- bench warmers Kemer Roofe and John Lundstram are eating up £80,000/week- with the clock ticking down on key players walking away.
Connor Goldson has six months left on his deal and has refused all offers of a new contract with Joe Aribo, Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent free to walk away in May 2023.
New boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst will have sought out certain assurances when he took charge last month but the bleating of Steven Gerrard about the lack of spending in the last two windows has still not been answered.
Losses of £23.5m were reported for the year to 30 June 2021, even the return of matchday income including the lucrative pie market is unlikely to make much of a bite on £2m/month losses with player sales the only way to get towards breakeven point.
In the Daily Record, Jackson warns:
Southampton have already been sniffing around Joe Aribo and they are unlikely to be the only interested party from England’s Premier League.
In fact, it’s difficult to imagine that Gerrard himself will not make a move for the 25-year-old if he suspects Rangers may be open to offers.
Van Bronckhorst gave himself a glimpse of what life might be like without Aribo on Saturday afternoon when he left the Londoner on his bench against Dundee United’s youngsters. It wasn’t a particularly pretty picture.
In fact, it may have felt like a visit from the ghost of Christmas present, given the levels Aribo has been hitting so regularly over these last 12 months or so.
To put it bluntly, Aribo has become such a glaringly obvious game changer that Van Bronckhorst may already be resigned to planning for life without him.
But that doesn’t mean the man in charge has to roll over the moment the bids start dropping on his door mat which is why it would be so fascinating to be a fly on the wall the next time the boss sits down for a one-to-one with sporting director Ross Wilson.
Wilson’s role necessitates the wearing of two hats. On the one hand, he is there to facilitate the needs and wishes of the first team manager. On the other, he has a personal responsibility to kick-start a player trading model on behalf of a board which has been stumping up hand over fist just to keep the lights on. His job security may very well depend upon it.
It would be only natural then if Wilson was to see an upside from soliciting offers for the likes of Aribo or Ryan Kent next month, even if it makes Van Bronckhorst’s task immeasurably more complicated.
Which is why some straight talking is very much required before the window opens up for business in ten days’ time.
In an ideal world, Van Bronckhorst would demand that his squad is left intact at least until the summer – especially given Ange Postecoglou’s plans to tool himself up for the run-in with a raft of reinforcements over the next couple of weeks.
But even if the Rangers boss has resigned himself to having to sanction some January sales, he has absolutely no control over which bids come in for which of his players.
He may have calculated he could do without a Borna Barisic or a James Tavernier, given that Calvin Bassey and Nathan Patterson are already pushing hard for those full-back positions.
He might even feel able to reshuffle his pack to cover the loss of a Glen Kamara even though the Finn has become such a cornerstone of his midfield.
And, at a push, there may be just enough in his attacking armoury to accommodate the loss of Alfredo Morelos should some other manager want the Colombian for Christmas.
That’s all very well in theory. But the reality facing Rangers this winter is that Aribo and Kent are the two players most likely to fetch the really big money fees. And right now, with a title on the line and a £40m ticket into the Champions League at stake, it’s hard to envisage how Van Bronckhorst can afford to do without either of them.
Wilson is well connected at Southampton where he was employed before moving to Ibrox in October 2019. Aribo will spent most of the January Transfer Window on duty with Nigeria at the African Cup of Nations.
Aribo is now getting the sort of treatment that Glen Kamara, Ianis Hagi and Kent have had in recent times without any club buying into the hype.
As well as Goldson, Steve Davis, Allan McGregor, Scott Arfield and Leon Balogun will be out of contract in May 2022.