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Championship promotion hopefuls Bristol City have now joined Rangers in the chase for Kilmarnock hotshot Jordan Jones.
The Ashton Gate side have made their interest known to Killie and are waiting for the Ayrshire side to name their price, though the Scottish Premiership outfit would simply prefer a bidding war to push the price up as much as possible.
Rangers had a £350,000 bid turned down last week and were told to up their game with Kilmarnock determined to hold on to the 23-year-old Northern Irish international. However, they could now face pressure from the player himself, with either move being a step up for him.
Jones has 18 months left on his contract but that essentially means that after this particular window slams shut, his transfer value would begin to creep downwards so Kilmarnock may as well cash in. But where should he go?
Ordinarily, I would encourage such a player to head to Ibrox, the step up being easier to handle given that he’d be playing with better players but against the same standard.
However, in this case, he would be joining a club that, as it stands right now, has Jordan Rossiter, Dalcio, Greg Docherty, Niko Kranjcar, Josh Windass, Jamie Murphy, Joe Dodoo, Daniel Candeias and Michael O’Halloran as well as more defensive-minded players such as Jason Holt, Sean Goss, Graham Dorrans and Ryan Jack, who could all, in theory, challenge for positions that Jones plays in.
With that level of competition, he has no guarantee of playing regular first-team football, which would not be good for a player of his age.
Best case scenario; he becomes a first-team regular and Rangers go on to win titles, which would be as good as he would have hoped for as a player. The worst case scenario is that he can’t get a game and Rangers can’t catch their rivals.
Down in Bristol, his best case scenario is that he ends up in the English Premier League – the land of milk and honey – and worst case is that he remains in a league significantly stronger than the Scottish Premiership overall.
With 3 goals and 2 assists in 20 Premiership games, Jones has been a star turn for Kilmarnock this season and would hit a new level with either side, so I can see why his club want more money for him. I’m sure during negotiations however, the Glasgow club will remind their Ayrshire counterparts that they paid nothing for Jones when he arrived from Middlesbrough, so anything they receive is essentially clear profit.
That said, they do not have to sell him just yet and the buying club are the ones asking questions. So I would say that anything under an extortionate fee should simply be stumped up by Rangers or City to carry on evolving their squads.