After St. Johnstone valued Michael O'Halloran at £600k, there's been a fair bit of chat about the relative value of Scottish players versus down south. Martyn Waghorn and James Tavernier cost £300k, so why would we pay twice that for a good-but-not-great SPFL winger?
The problem here is that the sample size is not only small, but is also relying entirely on Gary Caldwell as a judge of talent. We haven't paid a fee for any English players other than those that Caldwell decided weren't good enough for Wigan, who wanted to restructure their squad after relegation, and profited as a result. It's going to be very hard to match that value again, whether we're shopping in Lancashire, Lanarkshire, or Latvia.
Just as Tavernier and Waghorn were cheap for that reason, O'Halloran is expensive for the opposite one - he's a key part of his side, rated as a future Scotland international by his manager. This is before we even consider that it's the middle of the season and St. Johnstone are only six points off the Europa League spots with a game in hand on Hearts. It's not anything to do with Scotland, or people trying to price out Rangers. If O'Halloran was a key player for a Championship or even League One side in England that were on the brink of the playoffs, he'd cost more, not less.
If you want value, then, you can continue to hope that Mr Warburton and Frank McParland can pick up players who bad Championship managers have wrongly decided are too good for them, but that's surely not a policy you want to trust all the time. For all the talk of 'value in England', you might want to ask Bournemouth, who just got stung for seven million for Lewis Grabban. Even the 'look at Jamie Vardy' chat should take into account that Fleetwood Town are now demanding a million for their players.
There's as much value, if not more, to be had in Scotland as anywhere else. You just have to pay more if you want to take someone's key player than you do if you're taking their cast-offs. That's why there wasn't another zero on the end of Jason Holt's £65,000 fee. We don't know if we'll get O'Halloran or not, but you can't look for a ridiculous bargain every time. Very few good teams are built being that strict with the purse-strings.