Glasgow Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst and sporting director Ross Wilson have several huge decisions to make on contracts heading into the summer of 2023.
The Light Blues have a host of players whose deals expire at the end of the current campaign and the powers that be will need to decide whether or not to cash in on them in January, attempt to pin them down to extensions, or allow them to leave for nothing.
Scott Arfield, Ryan Jack, Filip Helander, Alfredo Morelos, and Ryan Kent are just a few of the first-team gems who could depart on free transfers ahead of the 2023/24 campaign. Meanwhile, Malik Tillman and James Sands are both on loan and Rangers must make a call on whether or not they will take up their options to sign them permanently.
The club may have to deal with the possibility of some of the players they want to keep deciding that they would like to explore opportunities elsewhere. For example, Kent may opt to depart, in January or next summer, in the hope of landing at a club in the Premier League, if that is something he decides that he wants to do.
Irrespective of where he ends up, the Englishman is out of contract next summer and will leave if a new deal cannot be agreed, which is why van Bronckhorst must look to the future and life beyond the ex-Liverpool man.
His departure would leave a hole in the squad in the wide areas, which could tempt Wilson into entering the transfer market to snap up a replacement. However, the Light Blues may already have the heir to Kent’s throne on the left wing in the form of B team player Ross McCausland.
Head of the academy Craig Mulholland previously claimed that one of his strengths is that he is “dominant” in one-on-one duels and this suggests that he has the quality to breeze past opposition players down the flanks, in a similar fashion to Kent with his marauding runs.
McCausland, who is a Northern Ireland U21 international, also offered a glimpse of the creativity he can provide from out wide as he registered an assist on his Premiership debut for the club last season, despite only playing 29 minutes off the bench.
The 19-year-old is capable of scoring and assisting goals whilst playing on the left or right wing and this suggests that he could be the long-term heir to Kent, who has scored 30 goals and assisted 50 in 184 matches for Rangers, if he is able to make the step up to playing regularly at first-team level.
Therefore, van Bronckhorst must offer him more opportunities in the senior squad this season to see if he has the consistency, and quality, to replace the Englishman in the 2023/24 campaign.