Rangers manager Ally McCoist admits he may have to aim to build a side capable of winning the Championship title next season rather than one designed for eventual life in the Scottish Premiership McCoist had hoped to be able to begin moulding a Premiership side soon and, with the League 1 title sewn up, thoughts naturally stray to Rangers’ ambitions in the next campaign – and beyond.
The Ibrox club have already been linked with two current Premiership players but McCoist has refused to confirm whether he is looking to lure Motherwell defender Shaun Hutchinson and St Mirren midfielder Kenny McLean to Ibrox. However, the manager did reveal that he could be restricted to “free transfers”. Both those players will be out of contract with their current sides in the summer and, indeed, have been free to speak to interested clubs since January.
Rangers were also linked last night with Manchester United’s 22-year-old striker Federico Macheda, who is currently out on loan at Birmingham City and will be out of contract at Old Trafford this summer.
His agent, Giovanni Bia said: There is the possibility of staying in England. But Glasgow Rangers have been persistent and Celtic especially so.”
McCoist yesterday refused to reveal the names of any players Rangers were targeting, but said: “Like all clubs, we would definitely like to strengthen and need to strengthen for next year. The biggest thing next year will be to win the league. In an ideal world we would be planning to win next year’s league with a view to three or four players being able to play the following season in the top flight. As yet, we can’t do that. It looks at this stage as if we might just have to get a team to win the league, which is absolutely fine. But we need to know where we are.”
McCoist also accepts that there may be no new arrivals at all before the start of next season as he awaits the findings of an on-going financial review at the club. He said: “We know all the players that are on free transfers but it would be nice to know, and we will know in the future, if we have got a few quid to spend on two or three players.
“We don’t know that yet. We are attempting to cover every eventuality. We might not get anyone in.”
McCoist would like to play a long game and start building a team that could prosper in the top tier, where Rangers hope to be playing again in 2015/16.
However, continued uncertainty over the club’s financial position in the midst of a 120-day review being conducted by chief executive Graham Wallace means that McCoist is being hampered in his attempts to look ahead.
The manager has not yet been told he must move players on – as was once feared.
But efforts to recruit new signings have been compromised due to the fact the club currently has no functioning scouting network.
“Our scouting network is non-existent for a club of our stature,” McCoist admitted. “At this particular time, when I think it is of greatest importance to have a good scouting network, it is non-existent. It is through no fault of anyone here at the moment, I have to say. But we need to pay attention to it and get it sorted.”
McCoist stressed that he is in regular contact with Wallace as the review is conducted. The manager welcomed the month-long cessation in hostilities agreed between former director and potential future investor Dave King and the current board. “I think it is good for everybody at the club,” McCoist said. He confirmed that he is in “constant dialogue” with Wallace and the manager is supportive of the board’s on-going review of the finances, even though it might act to restrict his preparations for next season and beyond.
“Like any manager, you want more than you can get,” he said. “It’s not a criticism of Graham and the board, far from it. They have got a job to do and they have stated what their plans are in terms of reviewing the club, reviewing the financial situation and reviewing the football department.
“I am in constant dialogue with Graham. We meet three or four times a week and speak two or three times a day. I was at the board meeting last Friday. They knew my views on it, which is great. They are aware of the fact that we want to get moving as soon as possible and they understand that. I also understand Graham and the board’s situation and that they need to have a review of the club.”