Rangers appear to have missed the boat on securing the signature of gifted teenager Josh McDonald. The 16-year-old attacking midfielder looks set to join Premier League side Leeds United in a deal worth £150,000, according to reports.
Leeds’ recruitment team are said to be delighted at pulling off what they view as a ‘major coup’ in luring McDonald to Elland Road.
The Yorkshire club have earned a reputation for unearthing promising young talents, with the likes of Wilfried Gnonto, Crysencio Summerville and Mateo Joseph snapped up in recent times. McDonald is tipped to be another star in the making.
The news will come as a bitter blow to Rangers, who have faced criticism for not producing enough first-team players through their academy.
Scouts from the Scottish Premiership champions are believed to have watched McDonald on several occasions, impressed by the playmaker’s precocious ability. However, their interest has ultimately proved futile.
While McDonald would likely not have been an immediate fixture in new manager Mick Beale’s senior squad, Rangers will surely rue missing out on such a prodigious homegrown prospect.
The likes of Adedire Mebude, Billy Gilmour, Nathan Young-Coombes and Rory Wilson have already slipped through the Ibrox net in the past.
As former Gers captain Barry Ferguson lamented: “I don’t think Rangers bring enough young players through the academy.”
Rangers lose out on Josh McDonald
The early signs suggest McDonald could be worth his weight in gold. Leeds’ director of football Victor Orta may have paid with his job following a dismal run of results but the club’s youth recruitment seems second to none.
McDonald is viewed as an ‘exceptional’ talent by some observers and could prove a shrewd long-term investment by the Premier League strugglers.
For Rangers, missing out on such a coveted young gem will only intensify the feeling that their strategy of investing in youth requires an overhaul.
McDonald may be one that got away but the Ibrox side will be determined not to make the same mistake again.
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