The cost of the Alfredo Morelos transfer twists that kept him at Rangers over the summer are highlighted in the club’s newly-published accounts.
The Glasgow giants had planned for the sale of the Colombia international and, as recently revealed by director of football Ross Wilson to Rangers TV, the club had told him he could leave if a club met their valuation.
That was believed to initially be £17million when talks with Lille were advanced, before being reduced to £13m by the end of the window.
Rangers paved the way for Morelos to leave by signing striker duo Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten for combined fees of more than £7m.
But, Steven Gerrard was left with a surplus of front men and the Scottish Premiership leaders are struggling to meet their costs in the teeth of the pandemic.
For the year ending 30 June 2020, Rangers confirmed that revenue had increased from the previous year to £59million but they posted a loss of £15.9m, an increase of £4.3m on last year’s numbers.
A spiralling wage bill is proof of the club’s ambition, with Morelos one of four forwards earning £20,000-a-week or more, along with Roofe, Jermain Defoe and blockbuster 2019 signing Ryan Kent.
The board knew they needed a big-money sale in the window that shut early last month to get their books in order.
Morelos was the most obvious candidate, as he pushed hardest for a glamour move, although there was also strong interest in Kent and Borna Barisic.
The accounts document states the Govan outfit will require £8.8m of further funding before the season ends in order to meet its obligations while a further sum of £14.4m will be needed by the end of next season.
The financial shortfall will be met by chairman Douglas Park and vice-chairman John Bennett, who have agreed to provide the club immediate additional loan facilities and the business “will at all times have adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future”.
These are challenging times for the board, but there is ambition at Ibrox.
With the management, staff and fans desperate to destroy Celtic’s historic 10-in-a-row dream, the league leaders talk of continuing to invest in the playing squad in order to secure playing success and future revenues.
That may well mean a big-money January sale is avoided.
But the accounts mean it will be almost impossible to avoid one next summer even if the club are preparing for Champions League qualifiers going into next season.