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Daily Record
Daily Record
Robbie Copeland

The Rangers contract ticking clock that goes beyond 9 summer free agents as Beale faces major 18 month overhaul

Michael Beale insists he's taking things one game at a time as he steadies the ship at Rangers but the boss would be remiss if he didn't have half an eye on the long-term future.

11 wins from 12 competitive games have brought the feelgood factor back to Ibrox and the victories are racking up even if performances haven't always been there. He inherited a squad that needed rejuvenated and rebuilding and that process has already begun, with Todd Cantwell looking a promising addition while Nicolas Raskin provides a long-term option in the engine room.

The next 18 months though will be big if the Englishman is to build a side who can take it to Celtic and make their mark on the European stage. His chances of retaining all of his current group for next season look all-but non-existent and in many cases, the tough decisions will be mutual. As many as nine first-team players are out of contract in six months as things stand, and top of the agenda are Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent who have been challenged to knuckle down and earn new contracts rather than take them for granted.

Veteran stopper Allan McGregor may well retire while Steven Davis won't play again this season which naturally casts doubt over whether he has pulled on the shirt for the final time. Scott Arfield, while a youth compared to those two at a sprightly 34, could also be phased out with his game-time severely limited under Beale.

Ryan Jack will be one player Beale wants to tie down, while he will also likely give Filip Helander a chance to recover from injury and earn his way back in - although he'll need to get moving soon after 15 months without kicking a ball.

And then there's American loan duo Malik Tillman and James Sands who are awaiting final decisions on their futures. Both have buy options in their loan deals and Tillman, who has been a key man under Beale, has been described as a no-brainer at £5m. But less so for the versatile Sands whose clause stands at a reported £4.7m and that looks steep after a hot and cold first 12 months.

There are further concerns beyond the class of 2023 though. The two out of contract in 2024 who will be of the most concern are Borna Barisic and John Lundstram, two of the experienced stars in the dressing room who Beale will likely be very keen to tie down. Left-back Barisic has played virtually every minute he has been available for despite Adam Devine filling in there admirably while Lundstram has largely been the nucleus around which with the likes of Jack, Glen Kamara, Tillman and Cantwell have rotated.

Between the sticks Jon McLaughlin, currently locked in a battle with McGregor for the No.1 jersey and looks set to compete with Robby McCrorie for that spot next season. But he dropped a clanger against Motherwell at the weekend and the signing of a new keeper in the summer could push him further down the pecking order. At 35, his long-term future could be cast into doubt.

And finally, what does the future hold for Kemar Roofe? Beale has had plenty of praise for the Jamaica international but his injury record makes for some grim reading. He's managed just 81 minutes this season, 12 of which have come under Beale, and now into his 30s, he'll need to show he can overcome that to stand any chance of a long-term stay.

Rangers' Kemar Roofe receives medical treatment (PA)

Beale of course has a strong core tied down longer-term and that will be the base on which he builds his long-term plan. Three of his most used back four in James Tavernier, Connor Goldson and Ben Davies have deals running until 2026, as do John Souttar and Leon King who will get chances to impress.

Key midfielders Glen Kamara and Tom Lawrence have two-and-a-half years to run, and the same goes for Fashion Sakala who has been used more regularly under Beale than he was under Gio van Bronckhorst. Here is the state of play in full.

Rangers contract expiry dates in full

2023: Allan McGregor, Filip Helander, Ryan Jack, Steven Davis, Scott Arfield, Ryan Kent, Alfredo Morelos, Malik Tillman (loan expiring), James Sands (loan expiring)

2024: Jon McLaughlin, Borna Barisic, John Lundstram, Kemar Roofe

2025: Antonio Colak, Tom Lawrence, Glen Kamara, Robby McCrorie, Scott Wright, Fashion Sakala, Nnamdi Ofoborh, Adam Devine, Alex Lowry

2026: James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, John Souttar, Ben Davies, Rabbi Matondo, Leon King, Ianis Hagi

2027: Ridvan Yilmaz


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