In the weeks following Steven Gerrard’s appointment as Rangers manager, optimism about an anticipated wave of big-name signings filled the club.
One such high-profile target was Gerrard’s former teammate Martin Skrtel, an experienced and fearsome centre-back who was linked with a move to Ibrox.
Yet, according to recent reports in The Guardian, wage issues seem set to scupper the Slovakian’s move to Glasgow, revealing the difficulty of reshaping Rangers while operating on a limited budget.
Skrtel’s agent Karol Csonto was quoted in the Guardian claiming the Scottish club simply did not have enough money to satisfy the defender’s exorbitant Fenerbahce wages.
“When there is only a small difference then you can find a solution,” Csonto said. “But in this case, the salary of the player in Turkey is four or five times more than what Rangers could offer That makes it impossible.”
These comments are certainly the sign of a money-hungry agent (surely Skrtel is willing to take a wage-cut to play at such a historic and well-regarded club), but also reflect the harsh reality of modern football.
Clubs such as Fenerbahce have the luxury to throw around ridiculous sums of money to attract aging stars like Skrtel, while Rangers do not have such funds and are conscious of operating with Financial Fair Play guidelines.
In this case, monetary restrictions look set to derail the transfer of the former Liverpool player, which would have come as a welcome addition of top-class European experience to the Rangers backline.
The unfortunate transfer saga comes as an uncomfortable lesson for Rangers supporters expecting an immediate turnaround under Gerrard, as the club cannot simply buy every single target it admires.
Progress will be more incremental under the Liverpudlian, and a focus on younger starlets Gerrard managed while at the Liverpool academy may prove more realistic targets than big names such as Skrtel who carry bloated contracts and greedy agents.