Rangers is a club which Ryan Kent presents as offering him a perfect home following years of couch-surfing. The problem for the on-loan Liverpool winger is that, when it comes to the potential for extending his stay, the 22-year-old doesn’t control the tenancy agreement.
The Ibrox support crave Kent being retained for a second season and the feeling would appear mutual. But there are suggestions that the Anfield club, to whom Kent is contracted for the next three years, will look to cash in on him to the tune of £ 7million.
That would appear to rule out a permanent Rangers deal so Kent, who yesterday earned both player and young player nominations for the PFA Scotland’s annual awards, has no clear idea of where he will shortly take up residence.
He hasn’t even really got his feet under the table at Liverpool, having been loaned out for the past four seasons, with stints at Coventry City, Barnsley, SC Freiburg and Bristol City before Steven Gerrard brought him to Glasgow last summer.
No wonder Kent wants to stop being on the move, fully aware that a base to develop won’t be found with an Anfield club pushing for title and Champions League honours. He said: “I want to kickstart my career somewhere now.
“I am tired of changing clubs each year, I want to become a player somewhere where I can settle down.
“Liverpool have been good to me but the enjoyment factor of going back there each year and doing well in pre-season and going back out on loan, it is a repetitive cycle.”
Kent would be open to having the chance to repeat the feats in Rangers colours that have made him a standout in the Premiership, with all aspects of the Ibrox environment central to his taking his game to a new level.
“I feel like I’ve evolved, I’ve improved as a player,” he added. “Each season that I’ve been on loan I’ve always taken things away from wherever I’ve been; whether it’s been a good loan spell or not. This year has been a big improvement for myself, on and off the pitch. Improving physically and mentally as well.
“I’ve felt comfortable here, I’ve felt at home here. I think the way I have improved [is because] the coaching staff and the manager have managed to find areas in my game that other managers haven’t been able to get out of me and that’s no discredit to other managers.
“I’ve really enjoyed myself here. I feel that has been a massive factor in my performances. I’ve been enjoying myself on the pitch and off the pitch and, ultimately, that gets the best performances out of me.
“[Coming back to Rangers] is something that’s being spoken about at the moment. I just want to finish the season as strong as possible to help the team get as many wins as we can and then I’ll sit down with my representatives. It’s probably out of my hands. I have three years left on my Liverpool contract and there’s not much I can really do. Discussions elsewhere will probably have to take place.”
Whatever happens, Kent wil treasure his Rangers stay and hailed the “magnificent support” which has given him “bundles of confidence”.
He considers he has been able to play for a truly “big” club and experienced huge European nights and derbies. Those are not givens if he has opportunities to go elsewhere.
He said: “I’d want a club with ambition, that’s driven on getting silverware, as are the fans. I don’t want to join a team that’s just taking part. That’s not going to get the best out of me.
“Ultimately, the best players are winners and have that winning mentality. I feel like I have that as Rangers are pushing for that silverware.