Martin Bain: “My stance on selling in January, and I’m sure Walter’s is the same, is that the squad is weak in terms of number and in depth.
“We are going to need everybody we can to win the championship and Kenny is going to be a big part of that. I don’t see Kenny going anywhere in January. It’s in my hands to say we are not selling Kenny Miller.”
Martin Bain sounds very convincing in this quote from the 14th of December 2010. Rangers top scorer this season was not going to be leaving in January and Mr Bain, not the bank, had the power to make that decision. It is now January and its clear that although that statement may have had some substance when it was made, however money talks and the decision was eventually made to sell Miller.
Birmingham City were the first club to make an official approach for Miller, with the initial sum thought to be in the region of 600k, with an additional 500k if the club avoided relegation. At the time this fee could have been used to purchase a replacement, with David Goodwillie of Dundee United being the main candidate. In fact, an officially enquiry was made to United, although rumours that a bid had been placed seem to have been proved incorrect. Miller never really seemed keen on moving to Birmingham and instead had his heart set on Fiorentina, who had come in with 600k bid, including a wage packet of approximately 30k, which was 5k over Birmingham’s offer. Miller’s move to Fiorentina fell through at the 11th hour and the rumour is that Miller lays some of the blame at Di Canio’s less than complimentary comments on the potential transfer.
Paolo Di Canio: “Saying Fiorentina are trying to solve their attacking problems with Kenny Miller is an exaggeration. If the plan is to play 4-3-3, I don’t know why they are going for him.
“He lacks the tactical discipline needed to survive in the Italian game. People are puzzled. Miller is expected to settle straight into our league which is a competition far removed from where he plays now.”
The hope that Miller would stay at Ibrox didn’t last long as Bursaspor moved into pole position for his signature. Prior to the January transfer window, Bursaspor were said to be keen on signing Miller, with some reporting that a deal had already been made which would see Miller sign in the summer. This time, however, it was a cash deal, with an immediate transfer. The money on offer was 400k, much less than Birmingham’s offer, however they dwarfed Birmingham’s wage offer with a 50k a week deal. Unsurprisingly, Miller did not turn down this hefty pay increase and left for Turkey leaving Rangers in a difficult situation regarding strikers.
Walter Smith had declared in the final few days of the transfer window that he wanted to sign a striker, to replace Kenny Miller, along with a defender, although finances might dictate that neither could happen. Although Rangers had received 400k from the sale of Kenny Miller to Bursaspor, this bounty was not necessarily going to be handed to Smith.
The first signing was one that has been a regular rumour during every transfer window for as far back as i can remember. David Healy, the self confessed Rangers fan arrived on loan from Sunderland. Healy is certainly not a blue chip signing, and may have a good few years under his belt, but is not one to be dismissed too prematurely. It was only 2008 when Healy broke the record for most goals in the qualifiers for the European Championships, when he scored 13 goals, taking him past the previous record of 12 goals which was held by Davor Šuker. That is an impressive record when you think of the legendary strikers that have played in the qualifiers over the years. He will be joining his international team mates, Kyle Lafferty and Steven Davis, so he should settle quickly.
The final day of the transfer window brought with it a signing that seemed to surprise everyone – El Hadji Diouf. The Senegalese winger/striker arrives with a massive reputation and not a good one at that. During his time at Liverpool he played in a UEFA cup game against Celtic and was charged by his club and UEFA for spitting on a fan. Other offences include spitting at another player, racist comments to a ball boy and driving offences. Although i mentioned he can play as a striker, it is believed that he has been brought to the club to act as a wide player. A career total of 63 goals in 408 appearances is a poor return, so I can understand why he is not seen as the replacement for Miller.
Rangers transfer business was completed by the loan signing of 19 year old Arsenal defender Kyle Bartley, who had previously spent a loan spell at Sheffield United and made 23 appearances there. In addition to his loan spell at Sheffield United, he was previously captain of the Arsenal reserves and also made his Champions League debut for the first team against Olympiacos.