Former Scotland striker Charlie Nicholas thinks that Rangers could be tempted into selling defender Borna Barisic amid reports of a possible move to Serie A.
Earlier this week, the Sunday Post claimed that Roma were prepared to test the Light Blues’ resolve as they signalled their interest in the 27-year-old left-back, who Nicholas feels has “improved” at Ibrox since joining from Osijek in August 2018 for a reported £2.2m (according to BBC).
Writing for the Daily Express [via Daily Record], he said: “If a big-money bid comes in for Borna Barisic then Rangers will be ready to cash in,” adding: “Barisic is also a sale that Rangers could accommodate. I know they don’t have a current replacement but Steven Gerrard and Ross Wilson will already be looking at replacements that will be a lot cheaper or even loans.
“Yes, Barisic has improved and got better but he is not irreplaceable. His set-plays have been good, especially at Celtic Park, but he is someone Rangers can sell and bring someone else in and maybe generate some funds for the manager to go and strengthen again. Gerrard signed him from Osijek for around £2million so if they could sell Barisic for £7 or £8million it wouldn’t be a bad return.”
While Nicholas makes a fair point about the profit that Rangers could make from selling Barisic, he seems to be undermining the importance of the Croatian to Gerrard’s side. The 27-year-old is a crucial creative outlet for the ‘Gers, with his 13 assists this season the most of anyone at Ibrox (as per TransferMarkt). That is already more than three times the number of assists he provided in all of 2018/19, indicating how much more valuable he has become as an attacking outlet.
Nicholas acknowledged that Rangers currently don’t have a ready-made replacement for Barisic and that is indeed the case, with the Croatian the only natural left-back in Gerrard’s first team squad. While James Tavernier, Jon Flanagan and Andy Halliday are all capable of playing in that role, the ‘Gers could be playing with fire if they allow Barisic to leave without a natural alternative already in situ.
Nicholas talks about the sale of Barisic generating funds for Rangers in the transfer market, yet they stand to receive a healthy windfall from their Europa League campaign. Each group stage participant instantly earned €2.92m (£2.5m), with Rangers getting €570,000 (£488,150) for each of their two wins in the group along with €190,000 (£162,717) for each of their three draws. They will get a €500,000 (£428,202) qualification bonus for coming second in Group G and stand to earn another €500,000 for participating in the round of 32 [all figures via UEFA.com], which would leave them bankrolling at least £4m from their European run this season, a figure that could rise if they progress further in the competition.
With Rangers set to be nicely remunerated from their European campaign, they don’t urgently need to sell Barisic to raise funds, and with the 27-year-old such a valuable creative source from the left flank, Nicholas appears to be mistaken in his belief that they can readily afford to let him leave if Roma submit a sizeable bid for him.
Rangers fans, what do you make of Nicholas’ views on the potential sale of Barisic? Have your say by commenting below!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!
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