Former Rangers striker Billy Dodds thinks that the Ibrox club missed a trick in the January transfer window by not signing Liam Boyce, whose late goal on Sunday damaged the Premiership title prospects of Steven Gerrard’s side.
The Northern Ireland international, who recently joined Hearts from Burton Albion, had a memorable debut for the Tynecastle club after his 83rd-minute goal consigned Rangers to defeat on Sunday and saw them remain five points behind leaders Celtic (as per BBC).
Dodds reckons that the 28-year-old would have been an ideal addition to the Light Blues’ squad in the January transfer window, telling The Scottish Sun: “I genuinely thought that Rangers would have had a look at him when he became available. Maybe Steven Gerrard just wasn’t aware of him but he was a bargain buy at £125,000.
“Rangers are a bit thin up front, as we’ve seen during Alfredo Morelos’ suspension. At the very least, Liam would have been a great back-up for them if Morelos was injured and Jermain Defoe was tired. He’s a Celtic fan but that wouldn’t have bothered him.”
Dodds makes some valid points about Rangers perhaps having missed the boat in not signing Boyce, considering how inexpensive his addition could have been and the depth of centre-forward alternatives currently available to Gerrard at Ibrox.
According to BBC journalist Brian McLauchlin, Hearts could end up paying more than £200,000 for the 28-year-old striker. If the fee is not much higher than that amount, it is one that would have seemed quite modest for Rangers considering that, according to TransferMarkt, they spent £10m on the signings of Ryan Kent and Filip Helander last summer.
Also, as Dodds has pointed out, Rangers are not blessed with enormous squad depth in attack. If both Morelos and Defoe were to be unavailable for one or more matches and no new signings are made this week, that would leave Greg Stewart as their only senior centre-forward following the departure of Eduardo Herrera to Mexican club Puebla (as per @ClubPueblaMX on Twitter). Stewart has scored only three goals this season and has made just five starts, while many of his appearances have come as a winger rather than a centre-forward (as per TransferMarkt).
Boyce, by contrast, is almost exclusively a number nine and he is one with an excellent track record in the Scottish top flight, with 49 goals in 100 Premiership matches between his time with Hearts and Ross County. In three previous seasons at that level with the Dingwall club, he scored 10, 15 and 23 goals for a team that finished ninth, sixth and seventh in those respective campaigns. If he can score goals with such regularity for a mid-table outfit, it seems likely that he could make an impact with a team pursuing the title.
Dodds said that the 28-year-old would have been an ideal alternative to Morelos and Defoe and, had he come to Rangers, the Northern Ireland striker probably would have had to be content with the role of impact substitute. While he has scored 15 goals in 2,502 minutes of action at club level this season (one goal per 166.8 minutes), that ratio still trails behind the Colombian with 28 goals in 2,339 minutes (one per 83.54 minutes) and the Englishman with 16 goals in 1,291 minutes (one goal every 80.69 minutes).
Boyce may not be as potent a goal-poacher as Morelos or Defoe but, as Dodds has suggested, he may well have been a useful addition to Rangers’ squad given his fine record at Premiership level. Instead, he could end up being a man whose goal-scoring ability harms rather than helps the Light Blues’ title prospects.
Rangers fans, do you agree with Dodds’ belief that the club should have tried to sign Boyce this month? Comment below with your views!
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