Nathan Patterson Rangers exit: Justifying hefty Everton fee, need to raise funds, Calvin Ramsay and talent drain

There is a considerably rich history of Scots at Everton. But of all those who have made the journey, including Alex Young alongside then Hearts teammate George Thomson in 1960, few endured the level of expectation set to be placed on the shoulders of a young full-back called Nathan Patterson.

Interest in right-backs Nathan Patterson and Calvin Ramsay show Scottish football is on the right path rather than a talent rain.
Interest in right-backs Nathan Patterson and Calvin Ramsay show Scottish football is on the right path rather than a talent rain.

The 20-year-old has been on Merseyside completing a medical ahead of his record-breaking transfer. He will hope to become the latest Scottish full-back to distinguish himself in the area.

But not even Liverpool's Andy Robertson had to justify such a hefty fee.

Rangers need to start accruing a return on their most saleable assets after a fairly bleak recent set of financial results. It is why they have little option but to send the talented Patterson away with a wave and their best wishes. What a shame it seems that we won’t see him develop for a couple more years at least in Scottish football.

Andy Robertson has extended his Liverpool contract until 2026. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images,)

Even if Rangers did not need to sell, the deal, reported to be worth as much as £16m once add-ons are factored in, would be impossible to turn down for someone who has racked up just 15 starts, only five of which have been in the league. The transfer will make Patterson the second-most expensive Scottish footballer of all time after Kieran Tierney. It is a remarkable ascent.

As Everton fans have noted with a hint of concern, if the player cannot force his way into the Rangers side on a regular basis, then what are they doing agreeing to such a large outlay? It’s also been reported that he was originally targeted by Michael Brands, the Everton director of football who has since parted company with the club. Of course, current manager Rafa Benitez might not be hanging around long either. He is currently the 11-10 favourite to be the next Premier League manager sacked with Coral bookmakers. Patterson is entering an uncertain situation although he will encounter some friendly faces. Duncan Ferguson is one of them.

A long-time member of the Goodison Park coaching staff, there are renewed calls for the Scot to be given the managerial reins until the end of the season. Ferguson took over for three matches towards the end of 2019, happily stepping aside when Carlo Ancelotti came in, reasoning that “we need the best manager for Everton Football Club.” Alas, the best manager in the world has since returned to Real Madrid and Everton are toiling under Benitez, whose Liverpool association has now become an issue again following such a poor run of results. Everton have only won once since September.

The situation calls to mind how Ian Durrant was greeted when he joined on loan alongside Ferguson in 1994. Paul Rideout clocked his former Ibrox teammate at Everton’s Bellefield training ground and exclaimed: “Jesus Christ Durranty! Do you not realise the state we’re in?” As now, Rangers were the reigning Scottish champions.

As for Everton, it’s now quite as bleak as it was back then, when Mike Walker’ side were in last place and becoming increasingly desperate. And Patterson will at least be encouraged by the prospect of playing every week. The Goodison club clearly need him.

The requirement for reinforcement at right back is inescapable. Seamus Coleman has been exposed on more than one occasion this season. The 33-year-old is entering the twilight of his career with Everton. If the club’s ambitions stretch beyond 15th place in the league, where they currently reside to the horror of their fans, then they require an upgrade.

Patterson certainly has the attributes to be that. He has pace and a desire to get forward and can easily operate as a wingback, as he has shown for Scotland. Patterson is the right-back the international side has been crying out for after the overload of talented left backs that has proved such a blessing and a curse for the last two Scotland managers. Manager Steve Clarke has now devised a system which seems to accommodate and suit Tierney and Andy Robertson.

A mirror of this situation could now be developing on the other side of the defence, where Calvin Ramsay, still only 18-years-old, is being touted for an international call-up. He only made his Aberdeen debut last season, in a 1-0 defeat to Dundee United at Tannadice.

However, he is already the subject of interest at home and abroad. Bologna, who already have former Hearts full-back Aaron Hickey on their books, are reported to be standing by with a bid. Eintracht Frankfurt are also said to be monitoring the situation, along with a number of English sides. If he does leave, it will likely take more than the club record fee of £3m which saw Scott McKenna leave for Nottingham Forest last season.

Former Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes included Ramsay in his team of the first half of the season in his column in last weekend’s edition of the Mail on Sunday. He believes the impact of Brexit, which means recruitment of players from abroad is now more complicated, is encouraging more English clubs to investigate what’s available in Scotland. Scottish football could again be set for a period where clubs can expect to be fairly compensated for nurturing talent.

“Still only 18, he is a very confident boy and I like the way he plays like a winger in the opposition half,” McInnes writes with reference to Ramsay.

“His quality of delivery from set-pieces and open play has brought him plenty of assists for Aberdeen. For someone so young to come in and make the impact he has is great credit to him. We had earmarked this season as his turn to make the breakthrough and he has taken these opportunities brilliantly.

“There is a lot of talk of him moving on and, with Brexit rules, I’m not surprised at that. Young Scottish players have become more attractive to the big boys in England and Ramsay is naturally going to have admirers.”

It seems wrong to celebrate a talent drain but it suggests Scottish football is doing something right.

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