Reports from Italy suggest a move to Fiorentina may indeed be a goer. Some may be forgiven for thinking this is April, not the second week in January, but after last week’s Birmingham bid was accepted, we now find that the player may choose to forego the pleasures of the midlands – thus denying him a chance to enjoy the CBSO under Andris Nelsons – for a spell in Serie A, in the beautiful (and it is, despite the tourists) city of Florence.
A list of previous Scots to make the trip to Italian domestic football – Law, Jordan and Souness – reflects both the quality of men involved and the time since one of our own has graced the league. One need hardly dwell too long on the slight disparity in quality between the respective top divisions, but of greater concern for domestic Scottish and British players has always been the change in culture, or, as some cruelly put it – the fact Italian football is professional. Not all who left these shores have been as lost as, say, Ian Rush, but for every John Charles there are a number of others for whom the move didn’t work as well as had been hoped.
If Miller goes to Italy, Rangers will lose out. Not only will we be deprived of our main striker in his greatest ever run of form, but it seems likely that any Euros received from Firenze won’t match the bag of loot, with incentives, offered by our former manager McLeish. But the Club is in a very difficult position.
To replace Miller we have the prospect of a move, via an increased offer, for Dundee United’s excitable youngster David Goodwillie. As a long-term piece of business, this swap could work out well. However, asking Goodwillie or anyone else within the likely RFC mini-budget, to immediately take on the responsibility of leading the line or bear the brunt of scoring with the same frequency as Miller would appear less of a prospect.
In order to retain the SPL title, a lot will be expected of the soon-to-return Jelavić and a greater contribution from Messrs. Lafferty and (yes) Beattie will be crucial. The spectre of a loan return for Kris Boyd, seemingly a popular story in the north of England among those at the Northern Echo, perhaps reflects the willingness of journalists to promote the easy story, but also speaks of the problems facing Rangers in terms of striking options should Miller depart during this window.
It wouldn’t be a transfer window without weeks of speculation, worry, concern, joy and more than a little bank-bashing. The manager has made clear his frustration at the options available to him. We are thus unlikely to bring in any reinforcements without first seeing one or more heading for the Auchenhowie exit road. Some would be content with Goodwillie or Commons at Ibrox, and trust that Miller’s loss could be absorbed in the short-term and thus prove to be a fine deal for the Club.
Dundee United’s chairman Stephen Thompson has hardly enjoyed the best of relations with our own Martin Bain and we can only hope that if Kenny Miller does leave we aren’t pumped silly in any desire to get our hands on the virile young stud that is Goodwillie.