Rangers transfers: The eight players with uncertain Ibrox futures
Yet, with this acquisition spree, the club’s playing pool inevitably has started to take on a bloated look. Since the release of five players at the end of last season, only Antonio Colak has been moved on. It leaves Beale with more than 30 senior personnel – a figure he considered far from ideal over his first since month in charge as he stated a desire to operate with a far leaner squad. To reach that point, decisions will require to be made on a number of likely fringe performers … at best. Scott Wright’s departure seems set in stone, but beyond that there appears seven players with currently uncertain Ibrox futures. Below we detail the situations for those in that category:
The end for the Finnish international at the Govan club has been declared nigh for months, but still no concrete bid for the midfielder has materialised. Beale said last week there had been “quite a few enquiries” for the 27-year-old, whose time in Scotland is patently up. Leeds United have been credited with a strong interest but perhaps the issue is ponying up the fee Rangers are seeking for a player signed from Dundee for £50,000 in January 2019. It has been reported that a £5million buy-out clause was inserted into the improved four-year deal he agreed two years ago. It is a stretch to see any club parting with that for a player whose career has stalled in the past year, which may explain the limbo he finds himself in. Rangers may require to drop their asking price significantly to move him on.
The winger feels firmly the odd man out among the phalanx of attackers the Rangers manager will now be able to call upon. It is impossible to believe that the Welsh international will be in the mix for minutes as Danilo is poised to join newbie attackers Cyriel Dessers, Sam Lammers and Abdallah Sima, with Fashion Sakala and Kemar Roofe also in tow. It simply hasn’t worked out for the 22-year-old since his near £3m move from Schalke last summer and he doesn’t look to possess what is required to thrive at Ibrox. As someone therefore likely to be no more than a wage drainer, Rangers must be prepared to cut their losses and accept a cut-price fee to resolve his unhappy situation.
The bald fact is that you require to go back a year-and-a-half for any significant contribution to the Rangers cause from the Romanian international, hardly his fault with a serious cruciate ligament sustained in January 2021 costing him a full 12 months of his career. Yet, it feels as if the Ibrox side have moved on and that this provides the playmaker no real in – despite Beale handing him a new contract in December last year as he worked his way back to fitness. The 24-year-old’s name in itself should ensure he retains value and attracts suitors. Recouping the £3m they paid Racing Genk for him three years ago might be best for all parties.
It must be agonising for both the 25-year-old keeper and the club he started training with aged only 14 that a parting of the ways appears inevitable. Rangers cannot give the Scotland under-21 international what he wants, and needs, following his considerable patience at hoping his chance to earn first-choice status through impressing on loan, and proving his capabilities when selected. He did all he could as regards the former through loan spells with Berwick Rangers, Greenock Morton and, more recently and notably, Livingston. He did all he could as far as the latter goes as also in never looking short of the required attributes across his outings in the past two years. A sequence – bolstered by four-game run at the conclusion of last season – in which he conceded only one goal and contributed to two wins over Celtic. Beale, though, ultimately decided it would be too great a risk to elevate him to no.1 for the coming season and, with Jack Butland handed that status, he has deemed it necessary to seek pastures new.
Rangers ought to have learned lessons through being burned financially in allowing Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Jack when it comes to dealing with players in the final year of their deals. The Englishman is in that position, with no strong indications he or the club are pushing to agree on an extension. The impending arrival of Jose Cifuentes, and the additions across 2023 of Nicolas Raskin, Todd Cantwell and Kieran Dowell, coupled with Ryan Jack’s return to the fore and Tom Lawrence comeback from long-term injury, would appear to have pushed the 29-year-old Englishman down the pecking order for earning a regular midfield slot. Especially with the desire for youthfulness and energy accented by Beale. Earning a fee for him now – after he was brought in as a free agent two years ago – and also saving on his salary would appear to make sense.
Rangers may not want to act hastily with the decidedly mixed-bag Zambian forward, even as some seem desperate to push him to the exit door. As the quicksilver frontman proved with a goal and penalty-winning contribution in the 2-1 friendly win over Hamburg last weekend while all the club’s summer frontline recruits were in action, the 26-year-old can be useful. He has been, too, as an impact player in the past. In contrast to all the recent arrivals in his area of the pitch as yet being unproven. Of course, if that mythical £4m bid from an unnamed Saudi Arabian club ever became reality, it could be a different story. Until such times, though, he seems worth retaining.
The horrendous injury record of the Englishman dictates that he isn’t a player to be moved on as he enters the final season of his current deal. The 30-year-old’s luckless run with physical ailments frankly would seem to preclude him holding a sale value. His opportunities could be limited by the transfer splurge on forwards but his keen eye for a goal could yet mean he still has a role to play in the forthcoming season, albeit a limited one.
The third senior player on Rangers’ books now in the last year of his contract, if the recent speculation was to be believed a £1m offer from Nottingham Forest meant he was destined to be removed from said books. It has gone quiet in recent days over this offer from the English Premier League club. And, with the service the left-back has provided across five years at Ibrox, it could be worth discovering if he would consider a Jack-style one-year extension.
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