In the last two years, Glasgow Rangers have won a Premiership title and a Scottish Cup and reached the final of the Europa League.
Indeed, despite trailing their crosstown arch-rivals by nine points in the race for the league crown this season, it’s fair to say that the Ibrox side haven’t had it so good in years.
Between 2016 and 2018, the Light Blues suffered immeasurably, struggling to even finish second in the league and going through a raft of managers which included Mark Warburton, Graeme Murty (twice), and Pedro Caixinha before finally securing Steven Gerrard, who managed to rebuild the club successfully.
Funds were wasted on players who quite simply weren’t fit for the challenge. The likes of Umar Sadiq, Dalcio, Eros Grezda and Bruno Alves were poor signings who failed to contribute on the pitch, all while wasting precious funds, but it was a signing made by Caixinha in the summer of 2017 which perhaps rinsed the club more than any other – Carlos Pena.
How much did Carlos Pena cost Rangers?
Upon his arrival at Ibrox, a Mexico international forward who had represented his country at the World Cup appeared to be a solid signing, despite the extravagant £2.2m transfer fee that it reportedly cost to lure him to Glasgow.
Alas, initial hype soon turned to despair when he took to the field, looking constantly lost and failing to contribute in most matches. He did manage to (somehow) score five goals in 14 appearances before joining Cruz Azul in January 2018 for the remainder of that season.
A spell in rehab before joining Necaxa was his next move, but his loan spell was cut short and his Rangers contract was terminated in February 2019, with Gerrard happy to get the Mexican’s substantial £26k-per-week wages off the books.
For just 14 appearances, Pena cost the Ibrox club £4.2m in total between his transfer fee and his wages for the 84 weeks that he was contracted at the club, a colossal waste during a time when it was imperative to make the most of the limited budget at a time when European football was scarce.
Rangers Review journalist Derek Clark described the move as a “disastrous transfer in what was an equally disastrous spell for the club” last year, following the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport which justified Rangers’ reasons for terminating Pena’s contract early.
The previous couple of seasons have finally seen some excellent decisions made both on and off the pitch, and hopefully missteps like the signing of the Mexican are a thing of the past.