Barisic Will Likely Move On, Butland Not So Much I Hope

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After our more difficult start to the 2023/24 Scottish Premiership campaign under former manager Michael Beale, whilst we are far from the finished product under new gaffer Philippe Clement, the turn around in Rangers’ form since his arrival back in mid October has been nothing short of phenomenal.

25 games into his tenure, we have secured victory in 21 of those matches, and with only one defeat to our name so far, we also saw some pretty notable arrivals in the January transfer window as Clement began stamping a different kind of authority on the first team squad. We are also now joint top of the table on points, and few would have seen that coming in the first half of the season given the struggles we had faced on a form front. Football Tips would likely not have predicted that.

With very little business done last month when it comes to permanent deals, either in or out of Ibrox, it is simply an educated and logical guess that the club will no doubt be pretty active over the summer months. Gers fans are going to have to get used to being inundated ahead of the start of next season with speculated potential arrivals, and we are likely to see a raft of departures as well to free up both space in the squad, and also cash in the budgets, so Clement has more freedom to rebuild and improve the group in the way he wants to.

One player who could well now be guaranteed to move on is Croatian international left back, Borna Barisic.

Having joined Rangers back in the summer of 2018, the now 31 year old has gone on to appear just over 200 times for us across all competitions, and although he has only ever scored 10 times, some of those goals, and certainly his 54 assists, have proven to be very crucial for us down the years – not least the role he played as we lifted the league title once again for 55 back in 2020/21.

As fans will know though, he is out of contract at the end of this current campaign, and it is now being reported that sources close to the player are now indicating that he fully intends to move on when his deal expires in the next few months – both for the financial reward he can secure as a free agent with a boosted signing on fee, but also to now simply enjoy a potentially totally new adventure before he finally looks towards hanging up his playing boots.

Although he has made 27 first team appearances so far this year, he has actually only featured in three of the last ten matches, with it seeming that Clement has now moved to more favouring 22 year old Ridvan Yilmaz for the position as he continues to grow his time with us.

He has previously been linked with rumoured potential moves to the likes of Dinamo Zagreb and Udinese, but he is not the only one being linked with a departure. Some outlets are speculating that as we value impressive goalkeeper Jack Butland at around the £15 million mark, we could well be tempted to cash in on him to really fund a bigger transfer war chest for the gaffer over the summer.

Given how well he has adapted to life in Glasgow following his arrival from London top tier side Crystal Palace at the start of the campaign, I personally find it incredibly unlikely that we would be openly willing to let the 30 year old nine capped England international stopper move on. Certainly given the reports intimate we would be encouraging offers, and I do not believe we would be active in that direction.

Yes, he may well be tempted to return to the Premier League with the increased financial incentives on offer if the right approach is made, but equally, he is already undoubtedly a very rich man and could now well just simply want to play regularly again with a manager and fans that really value him.

He will probably have outside factors to blame and injuries would definitely not have helped as he ended his time in the Midlands, but it is not unfair to say his career dropped off a cliff after he left Stoke City and joined Palace in 2020. With only ten league appearances to his name in his spell with them, he played more games and minutes in the opening half of the season than he has since 2020.

Having lost his England place, and now potentially being back on the radar according to head coach Gareth Southgate, having effectively reignited his career and really found some form again, Butland may simply value that as being of much more importance than a wage hike – not least the opportunity to get some real winners medals into his own trophy cabinet given his already added the Scottish League Cup to a club haul that only includes an unused substitute FA Cup runners up medal from a spell at Manchester United (where he did not play a single minute).

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