By Matt Farr
Rangers have clinched the signing of highly-rated defender David Bates from Raith Rovers, according to a report.
The Daily Record claim that Warburton has landed his second January signing, bringing 20-year-old Bates to Ibrox on an 18-month deal.
This comes after Rangers announced on Monday that they had completed the loan signing of midfielder Emerson Hyndman until the end of the season.
The Record report the Scottish giants have followed up with permanent transfer of Bates, after he impressed while on a development loan.
Bates made his breakthrough into the first-team setup at Raith Rovers last season, before joining Brechin City on loan, making a total of 29 appearances in all competitions throughout the campaign.
He then spent the first half of the current season with Rangers’ Under-20s side, where his performances persuaded the former Brentford boss to grant him an extended stay at the Scottish Premiership’s second-placed side.
The Scottish defender played the full 90 minutes for Raith against Rangers during their 1-0 defeat at Stark’s Park back in February of last year, when the two sides were competing in the Scottish second-tier.
While several Rangers favourites – including ex-manager Walter Smith – have called for the club to spend big in a bid to remain competitive with rivals Celtic, Mark Warburton’s latest signing continues his preference for young talent, and low-budget deals.
His previous signing Hyndman, is only 20-years-old, while his next reported January target Jon Toral is 21. Meanwhile, Warburton also bagged 19-year-old Jordan Rossiter from Liverpool, and 21-year-old Joe Dodoo from Leicester back in the summer.
Football Insider verdict
Bates does deserve congratulations for earning a deal at one of Europe’s biggest clubs, but little more can be said until he makes more of an impression at Ibrox. He made a good account of himself during his previous spells with Brechin and Raith, but he has not had that much experience in Scotland’s top-flight. The fans will ultimately reserve any judgement on the player until they become more accustomed to him, and until he makes a few appearances for the first-team. However, if Rangers are to compete with Celtic in the next few seasons, they need to be looking much higher than Bates. Celtic are light years in front of their rivals in terms of quality, and Rangers simply won’t be able to match them if they don’t expand their horizons.
In other Rangers news, here is the latest on Jon Toral’s proposed move to Ibrox.