Glasgow Rangers announced they have reached a deal with New York City FC for James Sands. He will move to Ibrox Park for an initial 18-month loan. Rangers hold the option to make the move permanent in June 2023. The agreement is subject to a work permit and international clearance.
“James is a player who I have been aware of for some time,” Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst said in a Rangers statement. “His versatility was a big attraction and I’ve been impressed with his attitude and mentality in the games that I have watched recently,” the Rangers manager added. “He is a talented young player with areas of his game which we will endeavor to develop through our coaching.”
21-year-old Sands is excited about his move to Europe, saying “I feel it is time in my career to test myself in another league and face a new challenge in Europe.”
“We reached an agreement a couple of weeks ago for the transfer to be structured as a loan for this season and next, whilst we have negotiated and secured an exclusive option to buy beyond the initial loan period,” Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson revealed.
Sands played a total of 26 games for New York City FC last season, winning the MLS Cup with his team after an epic final in Portland, against Timbers. Since his first-team debut in 2017, Sands made 79 appearances for NYCFC. He impressed with his versatility, offering coaches options at center-back, but also on the right flank of the defense and in the central midfield. Sands has played for the USMNT on seven occasions and is the first homegrown player to leave New York City FC.
It is understood Rangers beat interest from various other clubs in Europe for Sands, with several teams in Germany asking questions about the defender’s availability.
Sands could end up winning trophies in two different countries in the space of just a few months. After his MLS Cup triumph at NYCFC, James could celebrate the Scottish league title in May. Rangers are at -270 to win a second consecutive championship, with archrivals Celtic at +188.
Rangers are six points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League after 20 games.