When I spoke to Neil Warnock last week he was fairly sure that Thursday would be the all-important day in his attempts to sign at least one striker before the season starts. Well, it seems he was right.
By Thursday afternoon, Rangers should have a clear idea where they stand and it is then that they will look to the loan market – something Warnock has never been overly keen to do – if attempts to tie up at least one permanent deal come to nothing.
A loan signing is a possibility in any case, but it will become a priority if a striker cannot be signed outright.
Warnock seemed happy to wait – until late on Friday if it comes to it – to sign a quality striker in time for the Barnsley game, as long as some progress is made on Thursday.
And of course there’s an additional attacking player being targeted in Adel Taarabt.
There’s been an almighty fuss about this guy, but Tottenham don’t want him and neither it seems does anyone else. Rangers have been in pole position to sign him all summer. Taarabt now accepts that and has been discussing personal terms.
His initial demands were apparently unrealistic, but so is almost every opening gambit when it comes to these things. After that, it’s time to get serious and talk properly, and as far as I know the real talks were going on late on Wednesday. It might even all be resolved then.
As for strikers, Warnock can afford to wait as he’s signed players in other areas, and in Taarabt has an expected signing who has already been at QPR so shouldn‘t need to settle in.
A sign of how dismally the club has fared was that, at the end of last season, despite having spent an astronomical amount and signed a ridiculous number of players, they were still looking for people in key positions. That tells its own story.
After spending so much and signing so many, to still be trying to improve the squad at that stage would have been bad enough. But Rangers were still trying to sort the team out.
Warnock has addressed that by bringing in a goalkeeper and signing players in both full-back positions, as well as getting a hugely experienced midfielder in Shaun Derry and extra forward options in Mackie and Clarke.
What happened at Rangers before his arrival is nothing to do with him. And he’s now in the relatively comfortable position of having improved the side with plenty of money left to get a quality striker or two.
But that doesn’t change the fact that after massive spending and a huge turnover of players since 2007, Rangers will be 48 hours away from their third full season since the takeover still needing players not just to improve the squad, but to go straight into the team and play on Saturday. That’s inexcusable.
Thursday 8.15am: It seems the proper talks with Taarabt did indeed start late yesterday and that progress was made last night. Rangers should get the deal done at some point today.