Rangers sign long rumoured target Jack Simpson from Bournemouth, what does this mean for the squad and our strategy going forward?
You know, I had every intention of talking about Rangers 1-0 win away at Hibs last night. Three valuable points against a tough team playing on a surface with less grass than my back garden. Celtic getting a rare three points, though let’s be honest it hardly matters at this point, also added a modicum of impetus to follow suit. The light blues delivered by way of a pretty classy team-goal finishing with Alfredo “should have seen red” Morelos, as you do.
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Now see, there isn’t an awful lot more to say about the match other than that. It wasn’t particularly great quality and the Gers didn’t really look particularly threatening, for all their possession, until both Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten came on in the latter stages of the contest. That said, Hibs didn’t exactly do an awful lot either, successfully parking the bus being their primary accomplishment on the whole.
The Rangers back four have been immense this season and let’s not take that for granted, however. As Sir Alex Ferguson said, attack wins you games, defence wins you titles – whisper it quietly, but the Gers are seeing that play out as we speak. With that in mind, it makes sense that Steven Gerrard would look to reinforce his squad depth at the back and, today, he’s taken serious steps towards that.
Rangers announced on Twitter that Bournemouth centre-back Jack Simpson had indeed signed a pre-contract agreement with the club. Sporting director Ross Wilson had the following to say, as quoted by the Scottish Sun;
"“Jack is a player that Steven (Gerrard) and I have discussed a number of times in recent months.We are always looking at how we can improve and Jack fits the profile that we are looking to add as we develop and move the squad forward again.His contractual situation at Bournemouth provided a natural and attractive moment for us to pursue Jack’s signature.It has been well publicised that he has been a much-coveted player south of the border but from our first discussion with Jack, we could see how the opportunity to join Rangers was one that was very appealing to him.The situation with pre contract negotiations is never an easy one and I extend my thanks to Richard Hughes, my counterpart at Bournemouth, for how he has handled our interest in Jack.”"
We spoke before about Simpson as he was first starting to be rumoured, alongside fellow Bournemouth player Nnamdi Ofoborh. As you may remember, Cardiff City had claimed they were in on Simpson to the tune of £750,000, which the Cherries had apparently accepted. We discussed then that this probably wasn’t actually the case and sure enough, here we are. Of course, the player himself could have preferred a move to Glasgow, and honestly why wouldn’t he, but in all likelihood that bid was probably a lowball in comparison to what Wilson was willing to put up.
Simpson comes as a 24 year old with some Premier League experience. His first team debut under then manager Eddie Howe saw him score the opener in a 3-1 win over Middlesborough in the EFL Cup and he would be involved in some 11 games before Bournemouth dropped to the Championship.
It seems like he’s a more traditional defender, solid, resolute, good in the air, good with tackles, that sort of thing – less the ball-playing, attack minded defender that has become more popular lately. Basically, it sounds like he’s Shane Duffy only actually good. That’s something that will definitely be a boon for Rangers going forward, even if it appears that Simpson has a bit of developing yet to do in the roll.
Rangers have done the smart thing here by reinforcing their already strong back line. He may well be second choice for some time, but that suits him and suits us just the same as he matures and becomes less raw. Meanwhile, it’s a statement of intent from the club about how serious they are going forward. This isn’t just a flash in the pan season, it’s an attempt to usher in a new period of dominance at Ibrox and those questionable rumours of our financial peril, propagated by the media and feasted on by rival fans, should finally be put to bed.
Simpson joins us at time when we are flying high and gets to reap the benefits of a strong squad around him and the best defence in the League to learn from, never mind what Gerrard himself can bring to his development. All this is far more interesting to ponder than the “3 points secured” article you would have gotten about the game, so that’s why I went with this instead. Last night was just one game, but Rangers are clearly looking to the future with this acquisition – and isn’t that the most exciting news of all?