Cash-strapped Rangers – who have risked the wrath of their fans by seemingly touting the services of their star players during the transfer window – are chasing our centre back Chris Baird. The story’s credence is diminished somewhat when Paul Warburton, the longstanding Fulham correspondent at the Fulham Chronicle, managed to get his Rangers’ mixed up.
Nothing illustrates the fickle nature of football fans more than the reaction to the prospect of this transfer. It doesn’t match the frenzied response to yesterday’s news that Bolton were actively pursuing their interest in Jimmy Bullard but if Rangers had been tracking Baird last season they would have been no shortage of volunteers to drive the Northern Ireland international to Glasgow.
Baird – so clearly a confidence player – was hardly helped by being played out of position by his former international manager. He never looked comfortable at right back and didn’t really recover from being sent off at Aston Villa early in the season. The crowd got on his back and it was no surprise that Roy Hodgson drafted in reinforcements this time last year. But Hodgson has continued to show confidence in Baird, which is why I’d dispute the idea he’s been frozen out, and his performance at Spurs – as a ready-made replacement for Hangeland – was outstanding. Baird hasn’t done a bad job as the holding midfielder brought on to try and see us home to a result.
While Rangers might want to take Baird on loan with a view to a permanent transfer, I’d be reluctant to let him go until we’ve got a replacement in. He’s a useful back-up centre half and has already proved himself as an adequate stand-in for Brede.