Pre-season is almost upon us as things begin to take shape on and off the park at Rangers

It’s felt like a long summer and it’s only really been a matter of weeks since we stopped. As the squad prepare to return for pre-season next week, I thought I’d have a look at all the latest Rangers rumours, Rangers news and the squad as it stands currently

So easiest place to start is what is different from where we were when I last blogged last month. Well that’s quite easy, the answer is not a lot has changed in the playing squad and everyone has been off enjoying their summer holidays

Despite numerous rumours and stories there hasn’t been any additions to the squad although we remain in the hunt for more than one, which we will get to shortly

Pre season is now set with Oxford, Marseille and Blackburn visiting on consecutive weekends in July. The league fixtures will be drawn next week on Friday 21st, our Euro opponents will be known on Wednesday the 19th for first and second rounds

The players will return between the 17th and the 20th depending on who it is, some later depending on international duty and the squad will fly out to Portugal on the 22nd for a training camp. There are no known games at this moment for that trip but possibility of a closed door game shouldn’t be ruled out.

So whilst we know the schedule, next to highlight is that Ibrox and the HTC have undergone extensive upgrades in several places. Starting with the HTC, work has been ongoing since the managers arrival last summer but perhaps the biggest changes this summer have been the new Press rooms and Analysis room. The kitchen and lounge areas continue to be upgraded whilst the new stand is well under construction for the youth squads

At Ibrox the changes have been well documented, the yellow cladding at the Broomloan side has now been completely replaced. The Copland is next which will then follow an extensive clean of the brickwork making it look much brighter. The flags along the stand also pencilled in for an upgrade as weather has naturally taken it’s toll.

The roof inside the Copland is close to being completed and upgraded. On the pitch the new Hybrid surface is taking shape and the blue running track surrounding also being upgraded and replaced. The gaffer will have a new ‘dug out’ which are also being put in.

Inside the stadium work has been fairly expansive, from new carpets and flooring at the top of Ibrox entrance stairs to the Blue room. The players room is now close to completion whilst there is considerable upgrades to the outside of the dressing room areas.

Whilst that is all perhaps not as ‘important’ as the eleven on the pitch, I feel it’s nice to know the board are delivering the upgrades and care to our facilities that were promised. Whilst it may take time, the stadium and training centre are receiving the care they deserve

The youth team has had some movement, Liam Burt, myles Beerman, Scott Gray, Kyle Bradley and Jay Mack have all left.

Coming in youth wise has been Lewis McKinnon a young centre back, Ross McAusland a winger both from Northern Ireland. Joining them has been Umaro Balde the young midfielder from Sporting Lisbon and winger Kane Ritchie-Hosler from Man City.

Thanks to our friend Willy Irwin for all the youth updates, an invaluable source and well worth a follow as @spatestonbear2 On twitter and his youth site @rfcyouthupdates

Now to the first team and we know they are back next week which we covered above. Jordan Jones, Jake Hastie and Greg Stewart will all join up with the squad for pre season.

There has been a lot of names and links to the squad which have filled various paragraphs this last few weeks. I have been asked a lot about those and it’s fair to say I have kept things low key from the blogs perspective. Two reasons for this, the club have worked extremely hard to keep business in house and I want the best for the club in that regards, no point me blogging to potentially ruin something, the second reason is there is so many rumours out there that we get told are completely nonsense and it’s easier to let them be rubbished on their own than to respond.

Those names that we have had rubbished include Downing, Baines, Kalas, Brophy, Naismith, Olsson, Magennis to name but a few. The difficulty with this is that there is so much misinformation going around that constantly denying links mean most likely somewhere along the lines one of them will be true and people will be quick to say ‘4lads said that was nonsense etc’, So I prefer to say very little unless we know something is happening for definite then I will post.

When something is denied it doesn’t mean that’s true, the club have denied deals in past to get them over the line so it is up to you whether you believe it or not. I genuinely prefer to see what happens

So what is going on that we know?

The squad has lost Gareth McAuley, Lee Wallace and Joe Worrall but it remains 35 players strong. It is not beyond wild imagination that between 10-12 will leave from that. A quick glance will see we have 5 GKs, 7 defenders, 9 midfielders, 9 wingers and 5 strikers.

So it is obvious that we are inflated in terms of numbers.

So who might leave? This is purely me looking at numbers and speculating

GK wise Alnwick and Foderingham may go for a no 1 position and we will look to put Robbie McCrorie out on loan again. If all three do leave then we will most likely look to bring someone in, which is probably why GKs have been linked.

Defenders are thin on the ground and I don’t see much movement unless we see decent offers for Barisic and Tavernier, the latter would have to be a huge bid. I think we will bring in a left back and two centre backs

Midfield we are extremely top heavy. Loan moves for Ross McCrorie, Jordan Rossiter and exits for Jason Holt and Graham Dorrans may be likely. That would leave Jack, Kamara, Davis, Arfield and Docherty with the club looking at more coming in.

We currently have nine wingers, on the left Murphy, Jones, Middleton and Joe Dodoo. I’d expect a loan move for Middleton and exit for Dodoo.

On the right we have Candeias, Grezda, Hastie, Ojo and Greg Stewart. Logically I see moves out for Eros Grezda and possibly a loan for Jake Hastie. That leaves Ojo, Candeias and Stewart to play that role (I recognise Stewart will be more central) . I only mention Hastie as a loan based on the sheer volumes of the squad, it’s not inconceivable that he will stay and be part of the first team

Forward wise Alfredo is still here although huge question marks remain on his future. Jermain Defoe, Lafferty, Hardie and Rudden are also available. I believe if money comes in for Alfredo he will go and I also believe if that’s around £15m then we will deal, realistic or not we will see on that but at the moment there is no solid interest known. Defoe will start season as our no 9 vying with Alfredo or his replacement. Kyle Laffertys time at Rangers is over and he will move on sooner rather than later. That leaves Zac Rudden and Ryan Hardie to either go out on loan or become 3rd choice striker.

(4lads merchandise all profits to RYDC )

So with looking at the squad in that depth, logically on numbers alone we could see a lot of movement out in the coming months.

Now for the exciting bit of who is coming in then?

We know Sheyi Ojo is on his way and will join up with the squad in time for Portugal next week, we tweeted this back on the 23rd of May thanks to a heads up by Docstone on Follow Follow. Ojo is right sided but can play inside and on the left so will be a welcomed addition and has pace to burn. That deal has been a long time coming and that deal does not have any baring on any other deals from Liverpool

Interest in Charlton midfielder Joe Aribo has now been widely reported and this is one I have been aware of for sometime. My reluctance to discuss it is due to the widespread interest in the player and being asked directly not too. As now reported we have approached him and a deal is on offer but he has several offers from the English premier to abroad not to mention interest from our own league. I think we are only days away from knowing where the players future will be, noises on this one have been positive so hopefully we will see him in our colours next season. He is a left footed attacking player who loves a shot at goal, high stats for dribbling and passing.

George Edmundson is this summers early contender for saga of the window. Two bids rejected and the player has turned down a contract extension. Reports of an accepted bid by Peterborough have been rubbished so that deal is at a status quo at the moment. Rangers remain interested but we are happy to wait for the player and won’t pay over the odds. I don’t think that’s over just yet possibly

So that brings us nicely to the Ryan Kent, will he? Won’t he?

Everyone wants a definite answer and there isn’t one to give at this moment. I have been resolute throughout in saying that Rangers have a loan offer in and we are in the hunt. Those that follow the blog will know even when he was being linked with moves away For high value transfers I have always said we have a chance and I wasn’t giving up

In recent days those reports have been more positive and I have been told that it’s looking extremely good that he will return, but it isn’t done yet. I think it’s a move that suits us, another year to develop the player and keep adding all Alfredo’s fines towards his transfer fee!

In all seriousness, Kent is a player that ignites the fans and our team when he is on the ball, hopefully we see him back and I’m confident we will, but until we see him back at Ibrox we wait in anticipation. One thing I’ve learned is it’s never done until it’s done, so it’s everything crossed on that one

I still believe there is other business to be done in the coming weeks and I still think we will enter the market for some exciting names, either on loan or transfer, but a lot of that may depend on who goes out.

As the squad returns and transfers windows begin to open the ‘transfer madness’ will really commence, as I said above what I will try to do is give you as accurate information as I can, as difficult as that is!

It’s nice to be back blogging, Roll on the next few weeks and the start of season 2019/20, I have a feeling we are all going to be happy

Ignore the nonsense, the irrelevant and the noise