Phase one of pre-season complete as transfer focus becomes priority

With the players and management completing a hard week away in the luxurious surroundings of Portugal, we have now returned to the Hummel Training Centre to concentrate on preparations for the new season

The week in the sun will be invaluable to the players and the hard work will set them up nicely as the season develops. The focus on fitness and short ball control sessions, overloading on defence and attacking scenarios, are all designed to ready the players for the season ahead.

The intense running and double sessions continued this week as they returned to the Hummel training centre, on Wednesday the team hosted TNS in a bounce game which Rangers ran out 1-0 winners. Ryan Jack and Alfredo Morelos missed that as a precaution as both had small knocks, neither are of concern. The players also played a bounce match against each other on Tuesday and have Oxford on Sunday as the management get the players ready for our trip to Gibraltar next midweek

The training and bounce games will allow the management to closely look at the players involved and make decisions over those that may be playing for their futures. With the arrival of Joe Aribo we have now seen seven new faces arrive in the squad. The same Joe Aribo that our ‘rivals’ chased not once, but twice only to be told firmly No, and apparently does not ‘improve our squad’

There has been a few departures in form of loans expiring and contracts ending but the squad still remains at the top end of 35+ players

The managers admission that players will drop out is clearly an indication that players are playing for their futures and he is watching them closely as he trims the squad for season start

That high squad number is concerning and this is where Mark Allen must now earn his wages and find deals for those players out the first team picture. The capture of Eros Grezda last summer, the major failing of the window and a huge disappointment from that, is now a situation he must sort.

Grezda of course wasn’t with the team in Portugal and those that follow him on Instagram will see he is more interested in an apparent playboy lifestyle of promoting clubs and parties than he is of salvaging his Rangers career.

The opposite can be said for Borna Barisic who upon being singled out for criticism after the infamous Liverpool ‘Friendly’ has battled back and fought for his Rangers career. He has been given the opportunity and has shown up well in training. It’s now up to the player to take that into the matches, show a ruthless streak whilst remaining fit and impress the management. As first choice Croatian left back surely he has the quality for our side? It’s up to him to prove it

Other faces such as Graham Dorrans, Jordan Rossiter and Kyle Lafferty were also amongst those not in Portugal and it is these names that the club must now move on to create a smaller and more cost effective squad. Removing these players will relieve the club of a fair whack of wages and could also be key to new players arriving

It’s fair to say that the club could easily lose between 10-12 players and not miss any of them given the depth in squad available. So whilst we can credit Allen with a lot of good work in the window so far, to be fair also last Summer and January, it is this part of the window where the club will be looking for him to deliver.

At last time of writing a few weeks ago we touched upon that need to trim the squad and I expect as the English market begins to get busy we will see that happening. A lot of clubs are only now returning to training and will look to make their moves in the market

It is simply time up at Rangers for a number of players such as Dodoo, Holt, Hardie who never travelled to Portugal either and are surplus to requirements.

As for those that have come in there will be more faces joining them, perhaps as many as 3 or 4 with the jewel in the crown still to appear. Things can change quickly at a club and all it would take is for one bid for Alfredo or Tavernier to have a chain reaction for the club. That’s the situation we face at Rangers, a bid of magnitude for either will be enough but it was heartening to see the manager confirm that targets have been identified should that happen

Despite the rumours the ‘Big’ players remain at Rangers and no bids have been received. Exits for Hardie, Lafferty, Holt and loans for Glenn Middleton and Ross McCrorie are reportedly close so that should start to bring the numbers down. I would expect, as this happens, attention will then turn to getting more faces in with the English market closing earlier then potential loan and permanent moves may interest Rangers.

Things are quiet with names coming in but as above I expect that to pick up once players begin to depart over the next few weeks. The Kent situation remains the same with Liverpool back this weekend that may begin to unravel further in the next few weeks. Despite the rumours, as the manager has always said and Gary McAllister last said, Liverpool will look at Kent pre season and then make a decision as to which Rangers await the outcome. That’s the official position from the club

Rumours continue about Alfredo Morelos with Crystal Palace the ‘latest’ to be rumoured to have a £12m interest in the striker and of course Palace may have money to spend with the seemingly inevitable departure of their own star man Wilfred Zaha. That rumour then coincides with the Daniel Sturridge ‘chat’ which refuses to go away. But at this moment it remains just that even if it constantly seems to come back to the surface. But that’s the joys of the transfer window and supporting Rangers, half the fun is the speculation

On this blog my focus has always been only Rangers, I refuse to discuss other clubs because I am simply not interested and it’s not lost on me that other blogs talk about our club but their obsession is amusing.

One line from Dave King is all it took, a fishing rod which reaches half way around the world. King the master of shithousery

Whilst King has taken Rangers to the ‘Brink’ apparently, it should be noted we own all our own assets, after last debt conversion we are heading towards being ‘debt free’ and posted a positive result in our last accounts. The club continue to be on the right tracks and our board continue to take responsibility for the promises they have made

The board is not bulletproof but under Gerrard real progress has been made in a short time and the board looked to have learned from their mistakes. It’s easy to spin something but every Rangers fan saw progress last season and we look to build on that again this time round. Yes there is steps still to go but the positivity is apparent amongst the support

The board continue to sanction work on the stadium with brickwork, pitch side and the roof redevelopment underway at Ibrox. This will take time and with a heavy schedule of matches coming up we will begin to see progress as the weeks pass. The problem with starting that work is, with so many years left untouched, the more you begin to fix the more you find also requires attention. But I find it heartening to know we have a boardroom intent on delivering that promise.

None of that work is cheap, indeed signing seven players with the promise of more to come, multiple upgrades to the stadium and training centre isn’t bad for a club apparently trading ‘close to the wind’

So as we enjoy the players returning to training and the summer break being over, we still await the transfer market to truly spark into life, I’ve got a feeling it won’t be quiet for long, Rangers aren’t finished in the market and the real action is still to come

Don’t take my word for it, the manager pointed it out last week…..

Ignore the nonsense, the irrelevant and the noise


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