Monday was a strange day in the Kris Boyd transfer saga. Reports from The Daily Express had Ally McCoist jetting in from holidays in America to finalize the signing. The Daily Mail originally ran headlines confirming that Boyd had signed with Rangers. Then the headline & accompanying story devolved to Boyd being hopeful of a return. All along thousands of Rangers supporters proclaimed their well wishes for Boyd’s return to Ibrox, while supporters of other clubs threw up their arms in disdain.
Let’s breakdown the different consequences of Boyd returning to Rangers & explore the often overlooked proposal coming from France for Boyd’s services.
The French Connection
Nîmes Olympique of the Ligue 2 have made their interest in Boyd publicly clear as the team president proclaimed, “He has high salary expectations but we are not too far out of reach.”
A source close to the club told Rangers Report that the speculation out of France is that Nîmes is ready to offer anywhere from £6,000 – £7,000 a week. That is on par with the salary offer from Rangers.
Most observers have considered Nîmes Olympique a long shot to sign Boyd given his struggles in Turkey & to a lesser extent in America. Plus it is suspected that Boyd’s family wants to be in Glasgow. However, if Nîmes can increase their offer to Boyd they may go from being a long shot to a dark horse.
Currently there is “no plan B” for Nîmes if Boyd does not sign with them – so they cannot be overlooked.
What does failing to sign Kris Boyd mean to his other suitors?
Manager Derek McInnes was the initial buzz killer as he confirmed that Rangers had suddenly shown interest in Boyd & that Aberdeen would not be able to match the salary offered by Rangers. He added, via The Evening Express – “I’ll have an update probably today or tomorrow on that, and if it’s not Kris Boyd we move on. We did declare an interest in him.”
“We spoke to him and if Kris Boyd says he wants to come to Aberdeen we’ll do our best to do a deal. But we can’t be standing about waiting for that to happen. We’ve still got other options to look at as well.”
Just a few days ago, Aberdeen were considered the front runners to make the splash of signing Boyd. Even with his connection to Rangers, it appears that the Dons supporters were intrigued by the possibilities of adding the 30-year old striker.
Stephen Nicolson, who covers the team for Scotzine, explained, “The vast majority of Aberdeen fans were behind the move for Kris Boyd. There is no doubt he is a goalscorer and they are few and far between.”
“There were some that didn’t want him at Pittodrie due to his connection to Rangers, and most probably, some that liked to believe they were against it in a bid to be ‘controversial’. Personally, I don’t think that matters at all and losing out on Boyd is a disappointment.”
Anthony Joseph, a reporter for The Evening Express, told Rangers Report – “The Aberdeen fans seemed split on Kris Boyd. He’s a man who divides opinion among the Red Army. I think most fans saw him for his goalscoring record and would have been happy for him to sign.”
“However, there was also a strong element to the support who would not have taken him at all, due to his links with Rangers.”
Unfortunately, for Aberdeen it appears that they will be priced out & unable to compete with the money being thrown at Boyd from Rangers or even from Nîmes Olympique. Nicolson told Rangers Report, “I would imagine the best Aberdeen could offer would be around £2,000-2,500 a week, if not less.”
“There is a perception in Scottish football that Aberdeen can pay a lot more than the majority of sides in the top-flight. This is false. They may be able to pay marginally more than the rest but it’s certainly not enough to compete with the wages Rangers can offer.”
What now for Aberdeen?
Nicolson expects a quick resolution. “Aberdeen, I believe, will secure a new striker within the next week, who that is remains to be seen. Losing out on Boyd is a blow but I think it’s rather clear what he was holding out for. It doesn’t change Derek McInnes’s plans to have Aberdeen fighting at the right end of the table on a regular basis again. No player is bigger than the club.”
Anthony Joseph added, “Aberdeen will still need to sign a striker following the departures of Calvin Zola and Scott Vernon. They have Adam Rooney up-front and Niall McGinn can play as a striker too – although he didn’t really last season. David Goodwillie’s name has been mentioned again, following his release, but I’m sure there’ll be others out there who want to sign him too.”
“In January, it was all about Goodwillie and McInnes pulled out a gem in Rooney. It wouldn’t surprise me if he does the same and has a hitman lined up somewhere, on the back of Boyd’s decision.”
The interest from Dundee United always seemed a little curious. Obviously a goal scorer with Boyd’s resume would be appealing to any club in Scotland – but given United’s admirable emphasis on youth & the open disdain for anything Rangers – from the chairman to its supporters made it all a bit strange.
The Daily Arab told Rangers Report, “Kris Boyd is not the most popular of figures but he’s a proven goalscorer so there wouldn’t have been many complaints but we knew he was unlikely to sign for us.”
Robbie Boyle, who covers the Arabs for Tannadice Talk, added – “I personally think the way the club went around this wasn’t great. Going public on transfers isn’t a great idea for a club like ours and Boyd has split opinion.”
“So some fans have urged the board to throw money at him but others are looking for more youthful exciting players.”
The Daily Arab suspects that Dundee United is not prepared to dole out anything more than £2,000 a week. If that is the case there really never was much of a chance that Boyd would sign there.
Where has all the damned loyalty gone? It is easy to forget that Kris Boyd has actually spent the majority of his career with Kilmarnock, not Rangers & it was his original club that helped salvage his career last season. But given the market in Scottish football, the Killie simply cannot compete financially with their competition.
Of course, there are some who feel that Rangers is above its heads on this one too – more on Rangers to come later.
“He scored goals for fun, and certainly the second time around he had improved his work-rate and his all round play. He was a big influence on and off the park to the rest of what is a relatively young squad.”
“The Rangers move is surprising as he has spoken about disliking the ‘goldfish bowl’ culture of playing for one of Glasgow’s two giants, however you can’t blame him for taking one final pay cheque. He signed a deal reported to be less then £1,000 per week (around £800 & £900) and was offered a two-fold increase by us this summer which he looks set to reject.”
What now for Kilmarnock?
“As for next steps for Kilmarnock, then there are a few options. The chairman has said that we’re in negotiations with David Goodwillie and that would be a logical replacement.”
“We’re trying to secure the services of Alexei Eremenko, and when fit he can unlock a goalscorer in even the most mundane forward. Personally, Goodwillie would appeal, but so would the prospect of playing young winger Rory McKenzie as a striker (a role he excelled in for the youth team, including a hat-trick against Rangers at Murray Park in 2012). He has the pace to take advantage of Eremenko’s clever passes.”
Are you still with me Bears? There certainly is a tangible feeling that Boyd is set to return to Rangers. It didn’t always look like it would happen, but what has been rumoured for months may come to fruition in the next few days
What will Kris Boyd’s signing mean to Rangers?
It is relatively safe to say that Rangers will be favorites to win The Championship – with or without Boyd. Will it be Rangers biggest test since administration? Absolutely. Would they win the league without Boyd? Probably…& the odds got even better when you add someone of Boyd’s scoring acumen.
No matter what – Boyd’s expected arrival will have a trickle down effect throughout the Rangers squad.
The biggest winner on an individual level may well be Miller. Miller & Boyd have obviously teamed up before but beyond that – the spotlight, & the pressure that accompanies that, will be more on Boyd then Miller. Boyd is coming off a stellar season, while Miller struggled to maintain his job with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Supporters will expect bucketful of goals from both but Boyd is the younger of the two & the most in form. His all-around play has improved greatly since his stint with the Portland Timbers & that should serve to absorb the attentions of opposing defences which should open up space for the athletic Miller. Kenny Miller doesn’t have to be “the man” he simply has to take advantage of the talents of Boyd for his own benefit.
Nicky Clark & Calum Gallagher
While many have cooled in their evaluation of Nicky Clark, it is still difficult to truly judge his value to the club given the lack of consistent opportunities he has received – either due to time lost to injury or by the manager’s decision. For those who still are craving to see Clark in the lineup are going to be left out in the cold. Not only is Clark behind Boyd & Miller, he’s also behind Daly, Templeton, & Shiels to name a few. The only legitimate opportunity that Clark will have is if Miller lives up to his recent reputation of being injury prone. Given Templeton’s constant fragility & Shiels lack of consistency – Clark could still be called upon at some point next season.
Calum Gallagher? Well, Ally McCoist began to slot him in as a right midfielder, similar to how he deployed Andy Little, rather than his natural forward position – so it is difficult to conclude what it means for Gallagher. He may still earn the odd start or two – but it is doubtful that supporters will see him in his natural habitat of being a striker. Let’s hope he is not another Charlie Telfer in the making.
Daly’s contract expires after this upcoming season & he will be eager to prove his worth to the club going forward. So simply stepping aside for Boyd is likely not going to go over well. Most expect Daly to move back to a center back position, probably alongside Bilel Mohsni, in a role he played toward the end of his time at Dundee United.
Robbie Boyle recalls Boyd’s spell as a center half, “Being 100% honest in his last season at Tannadice – Jon was an average striker. But, when he slotted in defence he did look comfortable but that was partly due to our poor centre-backs at the time.”
“If Rangers hope to put him there at Championship level he will be more than effective.”
The Daily Arab was less optimistic, “Daly was a good servant to United. However in his final season it was clear to see his legs weren’t good enough for top flight anymore.”
If Daly does move to defence it would be a real surprise to see both McCulloch & Daly as starters. Their lack of experience (as defenders) & their lack of pace would leave the club with a glaring weakness in the heart of the back four.
So what happens to Rangers captain? There have been whispers that he may look to join Barry Ferguson as a player-coach at Clyde but that speculation was promptly brushed aside by sources who cover Clyde.
It may be good for the team’s morale for Ally McCoist to adapt a fluid approach to the starting lineup & plug Jig into the first eleven – either as a center back or as a forward on a semi-regular basis. He has earned the right to compete on the pitch for Rangers & not simply be discarded for someone like Jon Daly – who may lack the stamina to feature every week.
However, it will not be surprising to see McCulloch seeking out a new club come the January transfer window.
Forwards are only as good as their service & the man who will be relied upon the most to dictate traffic up the pitch will be Nicky Law. After a scintillating start to his Rangers career, Law’s performances suffered during the latter part of the season. The pressure will be on Law to bounce back & be an offensive catalyst for the club – if not his output will be more stringently evaluated.
Critics of Ally McCoist’s reliance on nostalgia have largely faded into the background as it is difficult not to feel that tingle of excitement of seeing players who understand what it means to be a part of a club like Rangers coming back into the fold. Chances are the team will experience similar success as it did last season. But, if the additions of Boyd & Miller do not lead to a more entertaining product on the pitch – little can be done to contain the frustration that a good portion of supporters have voiced regarding the job that McCoist has done as manager.