Last summer we were in a dark place after the season from *, no manager in place and a squad in need of an overhaul of monumental proportions.
We were so bad last term, even though we essentially had a team that walked the Premier league the year before. Why was that?
Contract situations have a huge bearing on the playing staff of a football club. If a player is after a new contract then often you see them trying much harder to impress in order to get that security of a bumper new long term contract. Similarly a player with a long contract feels settled and is able to perform.
The contract situation becomes problematic when players run their contracts down, or are inclined to want a move. The perfect storm is when those two scenarios come together at once.
We had a plethora of players whose contracts were running down and who all wanted away at the same time. Edouard, Ajer, Ntcham and Christie to name a few, along with an aging captain and under performing new additions led us to having the worst season I can remember for a long time.
Today's news that Alfredo Morelos would be out of the Rangers squad for the remainder of the season confirmed my opinion 4 days ago that his season was over, and as I stated back then - I think his career there is finished. He will not play for Rangers again.
It got me thinking on what the situation over Ibrox way was with regards to contracts. I looked at it a while back and my overriding impression was that they have a ticking timebomb on their hands, as bad, if not worse than ours was last close season.
There is a plethora of players out of contract at the end of the season. Many of them are ageing and may not be offered new contracts, and others are quite clearly leaving. Players out of contract in May are....
Allan McGregor (40)
Steven Davis (37)
Aaron Ramsey (loan)
Scott Arfield (33)
Leon Balogun (33)
Connor Goldson (29)
Amad Diallo (loan)
I think McGregor may be offered a new contract and I'm sure that Arfield would bite a hand off for an offer too. Balogun may be offered a new deal too, but I wouldn't bank on it based on age and performance. Connor Goldson is off already and will go on a free at the season end.
That's 6 players who will likely leave, and this is where it starts to get interesting. The players with 12 months remaining on their deals have to be willing to sign an extension to keep them happy and focussed. the following list doesn't strike me as a set of players that look to be wanting to stay in Glasgow's west end for much longer. The players out of contract in a year are...
Ryan Jack (30)
Filip Helander (28)
Robby McCrorie (24)
Ryan Kent (25)
Alfredo Morelos (25)
James Sands (21)
Joe Aribo (25)
Ryan Jack seems to love it there and will definitely look to extend his stay. The rest (arguably their best players) are now in the final year and all seem reluctant to sign extensions. That's another 6 players that want to leave or may be looking at their options going forward. Between contracts ending and players who have to be sold if they won't sign on again, that is 11 or 12 players needing replaced in the summer. Add to that list the very unhappy Barisic, and you have the perfect storm we faced.
How much will they get for the likes of Morelos, Kent and Aribo? Not as much as their fans seem to think, but not as little as our support would love to imagine. The performance of Morelos and Kent in games in the Europa League will mean that offers will eventually come, but clubs around Europe know their perilous financial position, as Jon Dahl Tomasson made clear, and will make bids accordingly.
If they are low balled, they have the option of keeping unhappy players for one more attempt at Champions League money, but that is a perilous route that I think would end badly for them.
It's fire sale time in the transfer window. Whatever money they get in will not likely all be returned to the manager to spend, and even if it does would the KKKlan be happy with Van Bronkhurst being the man for an Ange-style rebuild?
I don't think they would.
There may be trouble ahead.