written by – Rangers Report
Gary Ralston’s recent interview with Rangers manager Mark Warburton for The Daily Record exposed how the ‘old world’ expectations of how the club did business have finally become an afterthought. Ralston, seemingly thinking it was 1999 & not 2015, kept pushing Warburton on when the marquee signings would be coming to Ibrox.
Ralstons’s incessant questions included, “Do you anticipate making any marquee signings this summer? Is it unrealistic for Rangers to spend £1 million on a player these days? What’s your message to fans who may be anxious about the absence of a marquee signing?”
Finally Warburton broke from diplomacy to an education on how to build a squad in a Moneyball world. “I’d ask them (the fans) to name one Brentford player we brought in. We were a smaller squad on a tighter budget and it’s our job to get value for money.”
“Just because you spend £1m-£2m doesn’t mean you’ve got value for money.”
Back in 2014, Warburton laid out his transfer policy with Brentford in an interview with London 24. “We’re not just going to buy a player to add to numbers.”
“If a player comes along and adds value and quality, then we’ll make the move. Getting the right people and the right person in the right position is really important for us.”
With the pending signings of James Tavernier & Martyn Waghorn from Wigan Athletic, Warburton has now added seven first team players to the squad. Five of the seven are 23 or 24 years old & Waghorn is the oldest of the group at 25. Of the signings, only 18-year old Jordan Thompson is not entering the peak years of their careers (23-29 years old).
Even though they are young, five of the seven played at least 1,500 minutes last season so they won’t necessarily be learning on the job.
The heart of Rangers defence – goalkeeper Wes Foderingham, along with center-backs Danny Wilson, & Rob Kiernan all played at least 2,400 minutes in 2014-15.
The potential absence of last season’s Player of the Year Darren McGregor from Rangers starting eleven was mentioned on Twitter & this is where you can see Warburton’s philosophy come to fruition. McGregor is 30 years old & can no longer be seen as a player in the peak years of his career. As supporter Euan Taylor points out, if you go with Wilson & Kiernan as the foundation of your defense – you are cultivating a pairing that may end up being relied upon for years to come.
Warburton took the same approach last season with Brentford. As we discussed in an earlier post, players 28 years old & younger (not including goalkeepers) played 82% of all the first team minutes for Warburton’s Brentford side.
Last season’s Scottish Championship champions, Hearts, took a similar approach (85% of all minutes played were by players 28 or younger). Rangers? Only 41% of the total minutes were played by players 28 or younger. When most of your signings are over 30, most of the playing time will be eaten up by players past their peak years.
One of the cornerstones of any smart transfer policy is adding value. That’s why signing younger players is smart business. As players progress in their peak years, their market value will likely increase. With the seven signings that Warburton has made he has already more than doubled the market value of Rangers playing squad.
According to data from Transfermarkt, the go-to site for reliable transfer valuations, Warburton inherited a squad valued at £2.7 million.
When the signings of Tavernier & Waghorn become official, the market value of Rangers squad will have increased to £6.8 million. That is a 152% increase in value from seven signings. That’s remarkable business for roughly £600,000 of spending.
I guess having a manager who has actual experience in the business world really does pay off.
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