Steven Gerrard’s last-gasp signing of Ryan Kent is an act of ‘sheer panic’, while the reaction to the signing “borders on the hysterical” says Chris Sutton.
The former Celtic forward, writing in his column in the Record, hit out at the timing of the move for Kent, who spent last year at Ibrox on loan.
Sutton insists he rates the player, however, he points out that a misfiring Scott Sinclair, with 17 goals last term and now out of the picture, had a far more productive season.
Mikey Johnston, Celtic’s emerging wing wizard, also produced the goods on a par with Kent, only scoring one less in 20 fewer appearances.
Over on the opposite wing, James Forrest had a blinder of a season, scoring 17 goals for Celtic in all competitions.
Sutton says: “It seems that, in the eyes of the Rangers supporters, Kent’s signing is a game changer. The last-ditch transfer window strike which is going to tilt the title odds back in their favour.
“At best, that is optimistic. At worst, it’s bordering on hysterical.”
Sutton nails it. Having spent another barrowload of money, Rangers fielded a team on Sunday that they could have put out against Celtic last season, with the exception of Aribo.
Gerrard seems to have avoided the intense scrutiny that Neil Lennon faces when leaving out new signings, but Sutton did touch on it.
He continued: “Mind you, given the fact Gerrard has been allowed to sign about 25 players since he walked in the front door of Ibrox just over a year ago, maybe it shouldn’t be that much of a shock.
Nonetheless, it makes no sense to me. If that was the strategy all along, then it puzzles me.”
It is quite the puzzle. Kent played in most of the games that Rangers dropped points in. His goals came in matches against Hamilton, Dundee, Livingston, St Mirren and Hearts, while his strike against Celtic was his only goal between February and the end of the season.
It was, of course, that game that endeared Kent to the Ibrox legions, as he took a swing at tormentor-in-chief Scott Brown, as Rangers lost the plot. It was most likely that act that secured Kent the Young Player of The Year Award, rather than any performances on the pitch.
Kristoffer Ajer and Odsonne Edouard, who both made outstanding contributions to Celtic’s treble Treble side weren’t even nominated.
Yet Jake Hastie was, having possibly benefitted from the fact that he’d signed a pre-contract with Rangers, was one of the contenders. A year younger than Edouard, he has still to kick a ball for the Ibrox side and is now on loan at Rotherham. Go figure.
Kent’s performances in Scotland, and that award, didn’t do anything to persuade the cash-rich English clubs to part with their dough to land the “£12m player”. They could barely get half of it until Rangers came in to land a “great deal” at £7m, mostly on tick.
Aside from anyone being foolish enough to give Rangers a large chunk of credit, it seems Liverpool were very accommodating in getting the former Coventry, Bristol City and Barnsley loanee, now 22, off their books.
Signing Kent means Rangers are spending fortunes (which their accounts show they don’t really have) to stand still, at least in terms of personnel on the pitch. How is signing a player who failed to show up in most of the games last season expected to make the difference this time around?
Answers on the back of a red card, that can be recycled when the Ibrox fans turn on yet another board when the time inevitably comes.