COMMENT By Matt Farr
Rangers confirmed on Tuesday that they had reached an agreement with Premier League giants Chelsea over the transfer of highly-rated youngster, Billy Gilmour.
The Scottish club revealed on their official website that a deal had been struck between the two clubs after the 15-year-old had declared his intention to continue his development away from Ibrox.
Sky Sports later claimed on their Scottish Twitter account that a development fee in the region of £500,000 had been agreed.
However, while Rangers insist they have ‘maximised the commercial value’, the player himself could suffer greatly from his move to Stamford Bridge.
Rangers themselves would have liked to have retained the services of Gilmour for the long-term, but given the stature of the clubs fronting the queue for his signature, his eventual departure seemed inevitable.
The timing, however, is the main issue.
A high-profile move at such a young age comes with endless problems, and while Chelsea’s academy offers great promise and the potential for success, many before him have fallen prey to the system.
There is still much for Gilmour to learn before he will be considered worthy of a role in the first-team squad at Chelsea, so there is plenty of time for things to change.
But Chelsea’s acquisition of similar talent over the years has also left them with a massive pool of talent wasting away in the reserve side or out on loan.
If he is not careful, Gilmour could easily fall into the same trap. The impressive Dominic Solanke, who is out of contract at the end of the season, looks set to be the latest hot prospect to suffer.
The club currently has as many as 24 players out on loan, of which the majority face the prospect of returning to the club this summer with no clear indication as to their future role.
A couple of years down the line, when Gilmour comes of age, will he be part of the Chelsea squad, or will he end up spending more time playing away from Stamford Bridge than at it?
But it is not all doom and gloom, of course.
Nathan Ake, who has spent time much of his Chelsea career out on loan in England’s lower leagues, earned himself a role in the first team squad for the second half of the current campaign.
Meanwhile, midfield duo Nathaniel Chalobah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have also had roles to play under Antonio Conte.
That does offer hope that if Gilmour follows the correct path, he can become a big success story at the London club.
But if he is to avoid becoming another top talent to crash and burn, the hard work starts now.
In other Rangers news, three academy prospects have agreed new deals at the club, it has been confirmed.