Rangers have mixed record when shopping locally recently – will Aberdeen's Scott Wright be a Glen Kamara or a Greg Stewart?
To the credit of someone with little or no involvement in the Scottish football scene prior to his arrival, Steven Gerrard has proved refreshingly open to scouting players from the domestic environment – with mixed results.
Moves by the Old Firm to recruit those excelling elsewhere in Scotland are often interpreted as being motivated from a desire to weaken others. The Ibrox side are so far ahead of the rest just now that their interest in Scott Wright seems genuinely to be for the right reasons: he is simply a good player with the potential to be an even better one at Ibrox.
What he needs is some luck that has previously deserted him with injuries. He must also avoid becoming a bit-part performer, or worse, a forgotten man – a common undoing of players who arrive at Rangers from other Scottish sides. The obvious exceptions are Glen Kamara and, although he dates from before Gerrard’s arrival, Ryan Jack, the last player to make the rare journey from Pittodrie to Ibrox.
Jack is slightly different in that he was an established player in the Pittodrie team. Wright, due to a variety of reasons, is not. It’s not manager Derek McInnes’ place to warn Wright about the fate of others while he considers a move to Ibrox. At 23, Wright is old enough to make his own choices. But what he needs more than anything is games. It’s far from a given he will get them at Ibrox.
Wright needs to note the fate of Jake Hastie, Jordan Jones and Greg Stewart, his former team-mate. Although, again, a pre-Gerrard signing, there’s another case study in Greg Docherty, whose struggle to break into the first team saw him move on loan to Shrewsbury Town, then Hibs, before severing ties completely by signing for Hull City last summer. Despite talent not being in question, he made just 19 appearances for the club he supported as a boy. Hastie, meanwhile, is back at Motherwell on loan having played just twice.
It’s possible some have forgotten Stewart is still at Rangers. Already in the last six months of his contract at Ibrox, he has made only four appearances, three from the bench, this season. He was an unused substitute for Rangers at Aberdeen on Sunday. Breaking club Covid-19 protocols earlier this season with George Edmundson is the main reason for realising Jones remains at Ibrox.
One glaring success helps off-set the recent failures: Kamara. He moved from Dundee to Rangers two years ago this month after signing a pre-contract. Bafflingly, he hadn’t featured much for Dundee in the weeks prior to this, with then manager Jim McIntyre preferring other options as his side struggled at the foot of the table. Kamara went from there to starring for Rangers at home and abroad after a £50,000 deal was struck.
McInnes admits “it would be the best-case scenario for everyone” if Rangers came up with a reasonable offer, perhaps one where a significant sum of the £350,000 Aberdeen already owe the Ibrox side for Ross McCrorie is discounted.
Aberdeen are prepared to wait. With his side chasing second spot and aiming to move within two points of Celtic with a win against Livingston tonight, McInnes does not have the luxury of sidelining Wright while negotiations continue.
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