The Chalkboard: Dapo Mebude can save some of Steven Gerrard’s transfer kitty

As Rangers manager Steven Gerrard considers what the future of his first-team looks like ahead of next season, one of the big questions he will have is what kind of personnel will be available in attack.

Jermain Defoe’s situation at Ibrox is secure, with his loan from Bournemouth not due to expire until next summer, but others at the club are on shakier ground.

Kyle Lafferty for instance has barely had a look-in over past couple of months and nobody would be surprised to see him moved on in the upcoming transfer window.

Alfredo Morelos meanwhile has made his ambitions about moving to a bigger league clear and whether that happens this year or in the distant future is currently unknown.

With Gerrard looking to add quality rather than quantity to his squad then it doesn’t make much sense to go out and spend big money on a forward when there’s a Rolls Royce of a player like Defoe at the club, so a viable strategy is turning to the academy and picking out the top attacking talent there to provide back-up.

The outstanding candidate right now is Dapo Mebude.

On the chalkboard

Rangers fans got their first look at the 17 year old in first-team action on Sunday when he made his Scottish Premiership debut against Kilmarnock.

Eager to impress and hard working, his cameo was a brilliant bonus for Gers fans who didn’t have much else to shout about regarding the fixture.

There’s clearly work still to do on Mebude’s development, from a purely physical standpoint he did have it tough against Steve Clarke’s side.

His awareness of space and strength will need to improve if he’s to become a regular at Rangers but that kind of thing only comes with playing games against seasoned professionals.

He looks quite the talent and if the club are serious about developing its own academy talents then they must use Mebude as an example for others to follow.

Be sure to check out the incredible story of the man who rose from a Tanzanian refugee camp to become one of Australia’s biggest football stars in the video below…

How does he fit in next season?

A strike force of Defoe, Morelos and Mebude would be a popular choice at Ibrox next season. Even if Morelos does move on and is replaced, then Mebude should be the number three choice ahead of players with no future at the club like Lafferty.

If the Scottish youth international can play around 20 games next term, even if most of the appearances are from the bench, then that will only pay off for Rangers further down the line.

Are there risks involved when turning to youth? Yes, but there can also be great benefits and fans would no doubt respond well to seeing a teenager given a genuine opportunity.

If it’s not working out there’s always the January transfer window, but in turning to Mebude, Gerrard could have a secret weapon that means no money needs to be spent on a striker this summer, saving his kitty to be used elsewhere on the squad.