The acquisition of Mohamed Diomande is not the first deal that Philippe Clement has sanctioned or that Nils Koppen has put together at Ibrox. It marks a change in direction and acts as a signal of intent, though, as Rangers seek to add value on the park and on the balance sheet once again.

The requirement to do just that has been made clear on more than one occasion over the last few months. The message that John Bennett spelled out in black and white in his chairman’s report that was contained within the accounts for RIFC plc was reinforced at the Annual General Meeting. By then, Koppen was in place and sights were firmly set on the January transfer window.

It has taken until the latter stages of it for Diomande to arrive and for Rangers to open their chequebooks once again. The delay does certainly not indicate any indecision from either party, however, and an initial loan deal, with an obligation to buy, was announced on Friday morning. With a £4.5million fee and a long-term contract, Rangers have invested in Diomande, both in the here and now and for the future. At 22, the midfielder has put his faith in Clement and entrusted the Belgian with the next phase of his development.

"I am very excited to join such a historic club and I’ve heard a lot of good things about the team," Diomande told the official club website. "I had a lot of great conversations with the manager who told me about his plans for the team and where I would fit in, which helped convince me that Rangers was right for me. I really can’t wait to get started, join up with my teammates, and run out at Ibrox for the very first time in front of the Rangers supporters."

News of interest in Diomande first emerged from Denmark over the weekend. It was soon established that significant progress had been made on the deal and confirmation, from both ends of the transaction, of the agreed fee naturally heightened debate amongst supporters. Contrary to the initial understanding, Diomande was tied down to FC Nordsjælland until 2028 and was not in the final months of his contract. It became clear why it had taken such a sizeable sum for Rangers to secure his services and he has signed on at Ibrox for the next four years.

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Clement and Koppen believed it was a price worth paying. A midfield acquisition was not the most pressing bit of business this month but the chance to invest in an area of the squad that has long needed it was too good to pass up. It is one thing having depth, but quite another having strength. Diomande adds another dimension and the quantum of the package is a signal of intent from Rangers.

"I am really pleased to have been able to add Mohamed to our squad, and I am excited to see what he can bring to our team," Clement said. "In our conversations and what I have seen of him as a player, I believe he will be a real asset to us, not only in what remains of this season, but in the seasons to come also. I look forward to welcoming him to Glasgow, and to working with him on the training pitch soon."

Clement had hinted at progress being made to secure targets in the days since his squad returned after the winter break. Diomande was at the forefront of that but Mother Nature had a hand in how the move unfolded. Plans for the Ivorian to travel to Glasgow had to be cancelled as Storm Isha brought travel disruption across the country. In the end, a Rangers delegation would travel to Denmark to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on the deal. The arrival of Storm Jocelyn put another spanner in the works and the club media content – including the obligatory scarf above the head picture that all supporters seek – was completed on the continent. It was a sign of Rangers’ willingness to finalise a transfer that had sparked debate amongst the fan base and only a work permit now stands between Diomande and Glasgow.

The video production that was released to announce the deal contained a picture of a young Diomande at the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana. Remarkably, he is wearing an old Rangers strip. Perhaps it is a coincidence, perhaps this was always meant to be. He watches some of the highlights of recent seasons, including the League Cup and Scottish Cup triumphs and the momentous night at home to RB Leipzig. He picks up the phone and states 'I have finally made my decision, I am coming to Glasgow Rangers.'

Diomande’s name may have come out of the blue but a move in this mould should not have. Bennett had stressed the need for Rangers to replace ‘sporadic wins’ in the transfer market with sustained successes as part of a fully functioning player trading model and the appointment of Koppen as director or recruitment was the final piece of the new football board jigsaw. His involvement in the purchase and progression of several assets at PSV Eindhoven, including the likes of Johan Bakayoko, Ismael Saibari, both free agents who now have eight-figure values, Xavi Simons and Ibrahim Sangare convinced the board that Koppen was the right candidate to fill the vacancy left by Ross Wilson’s move to Nottingham Forest last April.

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The arrival of Fabio Silva, once a £35million recruit for Wolverhampton Wanderers, was the first Koppen- driven deal. The possibility of adding the Portuguese was flagged up to the football board before Christmas and Rangers were then able to move swiftly to see off competition from the continent, and from across the city. More than three weeks on, Rangers have secured the signature of their second signing.

So much of the £21million that was spent by Michael Beale in the summer went on players that had little resale value. That is not the case with Diomande. His profile is very different, and it offers an insight into how Rangers will operate in the market. Not every arrival has to be a buy low, sell high project that makes the club double-digit millions and some players are worth considerably more on the pitch than they are on the balance sheet. The challenge for Clement – who has often referenced Rangers being ‘aligned’ in their vision - is to find that equilibrium and Diomande is the first test of the blueprint.

“We want to get transfers in that can have an impact now but also added value for the next couple of years then selling them for bigger amounts because when you look back over the last couple of years this is one thing that we have missed,” Clement said ahead of the Scottish Cup victory over Dumbarton. “We didn't have big outgoing transfers to get money in to do other things so we need to get better in that. That's one of the targets. It's strange for a manager to talk about that but I know what the story is. I want to help in that way so the club can grow in every sense.”

It was in that same press conference that Clement lamented the situation that sees several members of his group running down their contracts at Ibrox. It was not a public attack on the way in which Rangers have operated previously but supporters didn’t need to read too much into the words to take extra meaning from the Belgian’s message.

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Clement spoke about having the ‘balance in everything in your squad’ and combining experienced operators who know how to win with younger players that have more scope for improvement. The contract extension that John Lundstram is poised to sign and the move for Diomande is Clement putting the theory into action.

“Everybody in the club is working hard in that way,” he said last week. “There is now a clear vision of how to bring money into the club by developing the players but getting results also and winning trophies. It's all of that together, it's not based on one thing. You don't come into a situation with players of value going out of contract and can leave for free. It's a situation that while I lead the club that can never happen.”

The appointment of Koppen coincides with a rethink in terms of how Rangers identify talent. Scandinavia has been pinpointed as a market that is potentially ripe and Diomande represents a first forage into that region under this regime. The top tiers of Holland and Belgium are natural areas for exploration, while work will also be undertaken in South America and in the likes of Poland and Austria.

The success or failure of the new way of working will not be defined by Diomande. There is a need for him to lead the way, however, and to become a player that Rangers win with and then make a profit on. As always at Ibrox, the results will speak for themselves.