Last season two home grown SPFL players left the league to go to mid-table Serie A sides. Lewis Ferguson packed up to Bologna and Josh Doig to Hellas Verona. Now both have been linked with moves to two of Italy’s biggest clubs. Rumours are that Juventus are looking at Ferguson and Inter Milan are after Doig. Aberdeen got €3.5m and Hibs got €3.6m for the young Scots. The now look likely to move on for at least €10m+ each and each team will be in for a nice chunk of the sell on %.
Why does that matter? It shows that there is value in Scottish players and that teams from the top five leagues are now looking this way. Sure, Rangers may need to pay a premium for domestic talent but there is still profit to be made from that if the players impress both domestically and in Europe.
One player who wouldn’t require a premium fee is Motherwell’s Max Johnston, who’s contract is expiring next month. It would only require a development fee to be paid to Motherwell and a % of his next transfer fee. Rangers need more quality home grown players, there are plenty of talented young players at the club but none of them have much first team experience. Johnston has been first choice RB/RWB for Motherwell since returning from his loan spell at Cove Rangers in January.
His physicality and athleticism is what stands out immediately, he marauds up and down the right side similarly to how Tavernier does currently. His end product isn’t at the level of Tavernier’s, yet, but how many full backs can hit the numbers he can? Especially at nineteen. That being said, Johnston has five goal contributions (two goals/three assists) in fifteen appearances (thirteen starts) so a goal contribution every three games is massively encouraging.
Especially when you consider Motherwell’s struggles this season, his goal contribution impact is excellent. Playing in a team, like Rangers, who control the game and have a higher quality of player going forward, his numbers could potentially be even better. A player who could be capable of challenging James Tavernier for the RB slot and definitely with a view to being Rangers first choice in the position.
As much as Rangers need to improve now this represents a free chance to cover a position for the future. Max Johnston has the potential to be challenging for Scotland’s RB spot in the future, having already been capped at U21 level. This list of clubs who are apparently circling around him are;
- AS Monaco
- Sporting CP
All clubs who play in a league above the standard of the SPFL, if he’s good enough to play there then surely he’s good enough to come to Ibrox? The homegrown quota is something Rangers need to be wary of, especially if they don’t fancy any of the crop of youngsters currently coming through. There’s not often a chance to snap up a promising youngster from another SPFL side for free so Rangers should jump at this one.
At worst, he’s a solid back up for Tavernier who ticks the homegrown box and doesn’t represent a huge outlay in terms of transfer fee and wages. At best, he pushes Tavernier all the way and becomes first choice, giving the club a player in that position for years to come. He’s tall and athletic with boundless energy, his end product also looks like it’s improving week on week.
This seems like a no brainer, especially with the quality of the other clubs that are interested. His dad is ex-Ranger Allan Johnston and apparently Max has grown up a bluenose. Does there need to be anymore signs the club should be interested at least? He’s got potential to make it to the top and hopefully that happens when he’s in a Rangers top. Go on Michael Beale, make it happen.