Rangers will have to wait if they want to lure Tottenham youngster Dom Ball back to Ibrox this summer.
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino is believed to have told the 20-year-old centre-back to report back to the London outfit’s Enfield training base for pre-season early next month.
The Argentinian plans to run the rule over the defender – who can also fill a holding midfield role – before deciding if he is likely to figure in his plans for the new campaign or whether Ball should be farmed out on loan once again for the final year of his Spurs contract.
Both Rangers manager Mark Warburton and Ball have previously said they would be happy to link up at Ibrox again next term after the youngster helped Rangers to the Ladbrokes Championship title during his initial 12-month stint in Glasgow.
But a source close to player said there could be competition from clubs in England.
He said: “Dom’s going back to do pre-season with Spurs, if he comes back to Scotland on loan it will be with Rangers.
“I’m sure Rangers would take him back but Pochettino is going to have a look at him during pre-season and then discuss his options from there.
“However, it’s not certain he will come back to Scotland as there are a few clubs in England who would be interested in taking him next year.”
Ball has been forced to go on the road to gain first-team experience, with his route to Pochettino’s starting line-up blocked by Belgian international pair Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld.
He spent the second half of the 2014/15 season on loan at League Two Cambridge before moving north last summer as he and fellow Spurs recruit Nathan Oduwa joined up with Rangers.
The defender made 30 appearances for the Light Blues, 24 of them starts, as Warburton’s team claimed promotion to the top flight on top of their success in the Petrofac Training Cup.
Ball’s ability to anchor midfield was a key ingredient for Rangers as they held off Celtic to clinch a stunning victory in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals.
But the yellow card he picked up in that Old Firm clash ruled him out of the final showdown with Hibernian, and Warburton later admitted his absence had been a factor in the Ibrox side’s 3-2 defeat.