Today in front of 5,000 fans, Kenny Miller today signed a two-and-a-half year contract with Bursaspor of the Turkish Super Lig. The switch has cost the reigning Turkish champions £400,000; a move that they will surely reap the benefits of as Miller has shown the ability to consistently score goals at a high level, having netted 49 times in 81 league matches during his last spell at Rangers.
However, does this move show a lack of ambition from the Scotland striker who has plied his trade in the Premier League and Championship as well as in the Scottish Premier League? There has been, for some time, a firm offer on the table from Miller’s former Rangers and Hibernian boss Alex McLeish to join the Scottish manager at his current club Birmingham City.
Instead Miller, at the age of 31, has chosen a much different destination to the Midlands club. Could this be that he feels his time has gone to perform at the even higher level of the Premier League week in week out? He last turned out in the English top flight for Derby County in the 2007/8 season after a £2.25 million transfer from Ranger’s city rivals Celtic. His spell at the Rams lasted seven months, in which time he scored just six times in 33 appearances, of which only four of those came in the league during a time when County were relegated.
Now three years on it could be that he does not fancy the idea of joining another club which is looking over its shoulder and always has the threat of relegation in the back of its mind, especially as he is used to performing at the other end of the table from his time at Rangers, a time in which he has picked up two league winners medals, as well as triumphing in both the Scottish FA Cup and the Scottish League Cup.
At Bursaspor, nicknamed the “Green Crocodiles,” Miller would continue to play at the level to which he has become accustomed. The Turks took part in this season’s Champion’s League group stages and found themselves in the same group as Rangers. Furthermore, their goal this season is to win the Super Lig which they won last season for the first time in the club’s short history which goes back to just 1963.
It is true also that Bursa have been rumoured to have tabled such a lucrative deal that the 51 times capped forward could not turn it down. At 31 Miller this could well be Miller’s final move of significance and who could blame him for wanting to solidify his financial position for his family’s future once his playing days are over.
Therefore it is entirely understandable why Miller has chosen the mighty Ataturk Stadium as the location where he hopes to continue his goal scoring ambitions, even though in comparison to Europe’s biggest and best clubs they still fall well short. In this season’s Champion’s League they lost twice to Manchester United without managing register a goal, while in two matches against Valencia they conceded ten and managed just one in reply. Even against Rangers, Bursa could only muster a 1-1 at home while they lost 1-0 at Ibrox, although Miller was decisive in both matches.
It seems that Miller has, in fact, traded one league where some of the lower end clubs are of dubious quality, for another with a similar feel to it. The difference being that the money is said to be far better and the Scot, who will always be remembered by the Ranger’s fans either way, cold well write his name into the history books of a much younger club if, over the next three seasons , he is able to help bring unprecedented levels of success to the Ataturk.
However, surely he would have had his name etched forever in the scripts of a Birmingham City if he had been able to dismiss the threat of relegation from St Andrews once and for all as the club look to cement their status for years to come in what is said to be the best league in the world?
Maybe, just maybe, Miller knew inside himself something that McLeish does not; that the Scotland striker is unable to raise himself to such a level, if he ever could on a consistent basis.