COMMENT By Harvey Byrne
Football Insider gazes into its crystal ball and predicts the Rangers team for the opening day of the 2017-18 campaign.
Assuming that current boss Mark Warburton is still in charge of the Ibrox giants for the start of next season he will know that his team needs major changes.
The current spine of the team has come in for heavy criticism this campaign and the likes of Rob Kienan, Andy Halliday and Joe Garner have felt the brunt of it.
This means that Warburton must seek investment from those in charge of the Scottish giants and the possible sale of Barrie McKay could help with funds.
The 22-year-old right-winger was a £6million target for Bundesliga side RB Leipzig in the winter and with his contract set to run out in 2018, the summer would be the time to cash in on him.
The Gers could then use these funds as well as any prize money for a possible placing in next season’s Europa League to bulk up their squad with players who Warburton knows well, as well as those with personal links to Rangers.
Centre-back James Tarkowski is a must purchase next to Clint Hill, who must also be offered a new deal when his current contract runs out in the summer.
The 24-year-old centre-back played under Warburton for 18 months while at Brentford before the manager left for Ibrox.
Tarkowski himself ended up making a switch to Burnley, but he has featured just 10 times in the Premier League for the Clarets this season.
It is thought that he may become available in the summer and a move to a big club such as Rangers may tempt him as well as linking back up with Warburton rather than a return to the Championship.
In the midfield it is thought that Jon Toral could be purchased on a permanent deal, while Graham Dorrans could also become available if Norwich fail to win promotion.
At 22, Toral’s career at Arsenal is unlikely to happen, but he could still form a good career in Scotland.
Meanwhile, Dorrans has previously admitted to being a fan of the Ibrox giants and could be tempted by a return to his homeland at the age of 29 rather than another season with the Canaries in England’s second tier.
Ahead of the midfield could see a brand new front three in Jota, Liam Boyce and Ikechi Anya.
Jota, 25, is a quality player and can play on the right. His contract is set to expire in 2018 and a move to Rangers to re-link with former boss Warburton, who he played under for a year could prove far more tempting than another year with the London side.
Scotland international Anya is another to have revealed to being a Rangers fan when growing up and he is currently being used sparingly by manager Steve McClaren at Derby.
The 29-year-old possesses the footwork and trickery to play on either wing and a move to his boyhood club could look a good option at the late stage of his career.
Ross County striker Boyce is the only one not to have any ties to the club, or played under Warburton previously.
However, he is the second highest scorer in the Premiership in this campaign with 13 goals. He is only bettered by one goal by Scott Sinclair and the chances of him getting into the Celtic team are slim to none. This leaves Rangers as the next logical step for his career and Warburton has severely lacked a player who can find the back of the net like Boyce has this season.
With these six summer signings, as well as the likes of James Tavernier and Lee Wallace performing alongside young prospect Jordan Rossiter remaining fit, the Gers could close the gap on their fierce rivals.
In other Rangers transfer news, this Gers senior man has revealed why summer signing was a nightmare.