Two in – and the door’s still open

No big surprises on deadline day then with the signings of Tommy Smith and Rob Hulse. But the biggest development – or non-development – of the day could be regarding Jason Roberts.

Unless Roberts got himself a move to a Premier League club very late in the day, he should now be easy enough for Rangers to pick up if they want him.

Much has been made of his supposedly massive wages at Blackburn, but Rangers have always had a fair chance of signing him on a permanent basis, even if it turns out to be on an initial loan deal before an eventual transfer.

The stumbling block has been less about money and more about whether Roberts might get an offer from a Premier League club, which would have made it very difficult for QPR to sign him.

There was some talk of Wigan wanting him back, but that may have been more about him being touted to them. For a player perhaps looking to stay in the top division, trying to hook-in Wigan – a place he knows and is popular from his time there – was an obvious thing to do. But, barring a very late development, it seems they haven’t gone for it.

That potentially leaves Roberts available for a loan move, so I wouldn’t bet against him ending up at Loftus Road one way or another – and still being there at the start of next season.

Hulse is an interesting signing. I’ve always believed Neil Warnock would sign one of Hulse, James Beattie or Darius Henderson before the transfer window closed.

With Beattie having gone elsewhere and Henderson out injured, there was only one of them left as Warnock looked to bring in the target man he’s craved for a long time.

In terms of style, Hulse isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. He’s certainly not mine. In terms of substance, he’s definitely a top player by Championship standards. The same can be said of Dave Kitson, who Rangers also asked about.

Hulse has some good attributes and is a goal threat. Derby were always a much better side with him in it. The problem was that injuries meant he was in it pretty rarely.

Rangers say his signing is subject to Football League approval. That should be a formality. I’m not sure why the move went through so late in the day. During the afternoon I even got calls saying there were rumours he’d failed a medical, which was news to me.

I also don’t know why the Smith signing was sorted so late in the day, because during the last few weeks, while Rangers have been linked with loads of players, that one’s looked to me to be the easiest of deals for them to do. But no matter, they got there in the end and both transfers should be rubber-stamped when the League open for business tomorrow.

Smith’s a tidy player and a much better signing than Jon Walters would have been in my view.

All in all, Warnock will be pleased with his work. Rangers have signed yet more players – probably enough to tide them over for a whole fortnight – and he’s got the target man he wanted.

Personally I think one of the biggest issues facing Rangers has not been the lack of a big man up front or even an obvious goalscorer, but that the team is possibly a bit one-paced.

I don’t think these signings will do anything to change that, but there’s still the loan market and Rangers being Rangers, there’ll be more players arriving soon.


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