It has been suggested that Tom Lawrence was brought in to replace Joe Aribo, while Oladapo Afolayan could be the man to fill Kent’s shoes in Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side.
The 24-year-old has enjoyed two impressive seasons with Bolton Wanderers, first helping them to promotion from League Two before finishing as their top scorer in League One last term. In total, the £3.4k-p/w winger has made 72 appearances for Ian Evatt’s side, contributing 15 goals and nine assists.
Last season saw Afolayan make 44 appearances for the Trotters in England’s third tier, in which he managed 12 goals and four assists as he averaged a superb 7.11 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
As a right-footed left winger who loves to dribble and cut inside, excelling at long shots, he would arguably be a natural replacement for Kent, who is unsurprisingly attracting interest after another excellent season at Ibrox.
The former Liverpool man contributed three goals and 20 assists in all competitions last term, playing a key role in Rangers’ run to the Europa League final with some sensational performances, perhaps most notably in the memorable win against Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park.
Kent’s contract at Ibrox is set to expire at the end of next season, so as much as it might sadden Rangers fans, it might be the best decision to sell him this summer rather than potentially losing him for free in a year’s time.
Should he leave Glasgow, it would free up the funds for Afolayan, who Van Bronckhorst would also surely love to have at Ibrox next season.
Evatt was full of praise for the winger last season, saying: “He has huge expectations of himself and we also have huge expectations of him and sometimes you have dips in form. We all understand that.
“In football terms and education, he’s still a young player, but his attitude when coming on today was first class.
“We have just said that to them in the dressing room – he made a great pass to Dion on the edge of the box and it was a wonderful finish, but 30 seconds later after the goal, Dapo was sprinting to the corner flag to block a cross for a corner, and that’s what it’s about. It’s defending as a team and attacking as a team and Dapo epitomised that today.”
Football journalist Josh Bunting also joined in with the praise for Afolayan, dubbing him “superb” after a resounding win over AFC Wimbledon earlier this year.
The former West Ham starlet clearly has an excellent attitude and work rate judging by Evatt’s appraisal, which suggests that he would fit in nicely at Rangers next season if he moves to Ibrox, and he could be the ideal man to replace Kent should the latter move on.