Quick links

Rangers

Our view: Ryan Kent needs to up his goal contribution at Rangers to justify price tag

Ryan Kent of Rangers evades Dedryck Boyata of Celtic on his way to scoring during The Ladbrokes Scottish Premier League match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park on March 31, 2019 in...

Rangers pulled off a stunning deadline day signing at Ibrox but it comes with new pressures for the winger.

Ryan Kent of Rangers evades Dedryck Boyata of Celtic on his way to scoring during The Ladbrokes Scottish Premier League match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park on March 31, 2019 in...

There's absolutely no doubt that Rangers managing to bring Ryan Kent to Ibrox on a permanent basis was a transfer coup.

It was said to be impossible. It was always unlikely.

Subscribe

Yet on deadline day it quickly became apparent that the Gers had never truly given up on the winger and that they were willing to spend serious money to prove it.

BBC Scotland report that the fee paid in total is £7m, which is a significant investment for a Scottish club. Rangers haven't spent that kind of money for years.

It's a major positive for Ibrox supporters, the player and Steven Gerrard, but it must also be acknowledged that the deal means new pressure arrives for the winger.

He must show improvement on what he managed to contribute to the side last season.

 

Risk-free loan to marquee signing

The move to Glasgow last summer was a big opportunity for the player and given he arrived on loan, there were zero expectations about what he could offer.

It quickly became apparent he had serious ability at Scottish Premiership level. He was a fresh bright spark who offered something unique compared to other players in the Gers' squad.

His rise in reputation was a direct result of excellent performances, but also perhaps because he had come from nowhere to impress supporters.

Kent doesn't have that luxury this season. He needs to hit the ground running and it's expected that he's a difference maker in attack for Gerrard's team.

Last season's contribution of six goals and ten assists in 43 appearances might be impressive as a bargain loan signing, but it might not quite cut it after a £7m move.

His all-round game was also impressive, but tangible improvement must be shown in terms of end product. That's what wins points and ultimately trophies.

Ryan Kent of Rangers celebrates after he scores during The Ladbrokes Scottish Premier League match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park on March 31, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Realistic expectations

Just as Rangers fans are well within their rights to expect more from the player, there can't be too much of a burden placed on Kent's shoulders.

Yes, he's signed for a £7m fee, but that doesn't automatically mean his ability has taken a jump.

The 22-year-old should be seen as a long-term investment for the club who has the potential to improve over a number of years.

If the winger can reach double figures for goals and assists and show consistency over long stretches of the season then that should be seen as the kind of realistic improvement Rangers are looking for.

There's always the possibility he lives up to the hype and gets closer to 20 in either direct goal contribution category, but that shouldn't be necessarily expected of him quite yet.

The season he has is going to be a fascinating narrative in Scottish football over the next 12 months.

Rangers have put their faith in him with a significant investment. It's now time for the winger to start to pay that back.

Have something to tell us about this article?

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch