The summer transfer window closes in a few days & yet again it looks as if Rangers will be unable to sell off some of its excess players. Players like Arnold Peralta & Bilel Mohsni have been mentioned as possible departures, while you wonder whether the club have simply given up in its efforts from January to unload Dean Shiels.
The closing of the transfer window often signals the beginning of players being loaned out, as managers have solidified their rosters & have identified players who should play – but would be better off going elsewhere to get that time. Last year players like Barrie McKay, Kyle McAusland, Calum Gallagher, & Luca Gasparotto all were loaned off in order to get first team football.
So, here is a list of players who may be better served by a loan – preferably with clubs in the Championship or in League One.
Note: The rumours of Kyle Hutton being loaned out to Crystal Palace were ludicrous & this list is not meant to be fodder for speculation & rumour – rather a chance to throw on our Football Manager hat & make some suggestions.
1. Luca Gasparotto – 0 first team appearances in 2013-14
The Canadian made three appearances for Stirling Albion last season on a short-term loan & it is a bit disconcerting that Gasparotto, who turns 19 next week, will likely not get a sniff of first team football again this season. The center-back could easily become one of Rangers most valuable assets but has been relegated to another year of U20 football. Watching other center backs – (cough, Mohsni, cough) be allowed to make mistakes on a nearly weekly basis & maintain their spots in the starting lineup seems counter productive. Would you rather watch a young prospect make mistakes & learn from them with proper coaching or watch more experienced players make repeated errors that often go uncorrected. Gasparotto is on the radar of Canada’s national team manager, Benito Floro, & you wonder how long he’ll maintain his patience as a player that may be relied upon for the next World Cup qualifying cycle is stuck playing reserve football.
2. Robbie Crawford – 10 starts & 14 substitute appearances in 2013-14
It’s a bit surprising that Crawford made 24 appearances last season, scoring three goals in that time. He’s a versatile player that may develop into an indispensable utility player for the club – a poor man’s John Brown who can help the team in all three zones of the pitch. During the pre-season, he came on as an injury replacement & had to play at right back – & he actually captured the imagination of anyone who watched the 21-year old embrace the role. If DaMarcus Beasley can make that switch – so could Crawford – given his fitness & pace he could feature just about anywhere in an outside role. Of the players on this list, Crawford is the most likely to actually get a loan spell. In order for Rangers to rely on Crawford’s versatility he needs the football smarts that will develop with consistent first team football somewhere else.
3. Barrie McKay – 0 starts, 3 substitute appearances in 2013-14
The 19-year old is mired in Ally McCoist’s dog house, after showing a great deal of promise in 2012-13. McKay only played 65 minutes of first team football for Rangers last year & spent much of the season on loan with Morton. His play was reportedly inconsistent & there was speculation that his attitude was sour, playing with a Morton side in which negativity was abundant. In July, when McKay stayed behind to play a U18 match, while 20 players from the first team traveled to play Derby County – the writing was on the wall that McKay may be on the outside, looking in yet again. If McKay gets loaned out again, it may be best to send him to a League One side that is among the best in that tier of football. He needs to be in a positive situation, because it can’t be easy to go from making 41 appearances in 2012-13 to just 65 minutes the next season. For a young player, the critical years to long-term success begin when they turn 20 – because they only have a few years to grow into their ability before they reach their prime. Let’s hope McKay gets the chance to hone his skills somewhere.
4. Andy Murdoch – 0 first team appearances in 2013-14
The departure of Charlie Telfer should function as a reality check to Rangers that they need to do a better job of infusing their talented youth players into the first team. You can’t throw out a team of 9-10 teenagers, but playing in the lower leagues means you can afford to have a fluid lineup that allows a young player or two to get a shot to prove their worth in the first team from time to time. Fraser Aird & Lewis MacLeod , & to a lesser extent Calum Gallagher have proven that their talent & energy can be a major influence on the team’s play. Murdoch, who will turn 20 in January, can’t sit around forever waiting for first team football. If McCoist won’t give it to him, let him go out on loan. The club can’t allow its young players to get restless & eventually frustrated by perceived lack of opportunities. Think of the frustration that Liam Kelly must have felt watching another journeyman, reserve keeper brought in to block his path to the first team.
Others to consider for a loan:
Calum Gallagher, Danny Stoney, Liam Kelly, Kyle McAusland