By Alex Stevens
Rangers are leading the race to sign Southend goalkeeper David Bentley, according to a report.
The 22-year-old is out of contract in the summer and has failed to accept the offer of an improved deal from the League One club.
The Southend Echo claim Rangers and Brentford are in pole position to land Bentley, who has also attracted interest from Premier League duo Burnley and Bournemouth.
Bentley, 22, was on the books at Arsenal before being released in 2008, and the Basildon-born goalkeeper joined nearby Southend United shortly after.
The giant 6ft 4in stopper has come up through the ranks at Roots Hall, and since making his first-team debut in 2011, he’s racked up more than 160 appearances for the Shrimpers.
Rangers remain keen to lure Bentley up to Ibrox this summer and have the advantage over Bournemouth and Burnley in that they can offer more regular first-team football.
Wes Foderingham impressed in his first season at Ibrox, but with Cammy Bell seemingly having little future at Rangers and January signing Maciej Gostomski already departed, manager Mark Warburton may look to bring in another shot stopper this summer.
Warburton has already landed three players from English clubs as Accrington duo Matt Crooks and Josh Windass, as well as Liverpool teenager Jordan Rosster, have penned pre-contract agreements for minimal compensation.
The compensation laws for out of contract players means that Scottish clubs can sign young players aged 23 and under from England for just £250,000, a fraction of the cost that English clubs have to pay.