Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has admitted that the contract situation of a number of his players could see the club needing to rebuild the team next summer, and lose some of the experience gained in European football.
The Ibrox club exited the Champions League on Tuesday with an unwanted record of no points from their six group games, but Van Bronckhorst has insisted that his players could learn from playing at the highest level.
At his Friday news conference, the Rangers boss was asked if there was a concern that the experience gained as a team could be lost if there was a huge turnover in players, and expiring contracts and loan deals could make that a possibility.
With James Sands and Malik Tillman only at the club on loan, and the likes of Ryan Kent, Alfredo Morelos, Filip Helander and Ryan Jack all out of contract next summer, as well as veterans Allan McGregor and Steven Davis, some continuity could be lost.
“We have 10 players out of contract or end of loan,” Van Bronckhorst said. “That means you have to change 10 players if they don’t extend or aren’t here any more.
“It’s hard because you want to develop a team but you also know that end of this season, I don’t know what’s happening with all the players.
“So could be that we have 10 new players coming in, which will also mean you have to develop again as a team, to gel together, so that’s also the thing we have to wait and see how the team will look next season.
“I hope not. But it’s football and players out of contract so you’re not deciding their future. They have their future in their own hands and it’s their decision because they’re out of contract. So it can be 10, it can be less, I don’t know.
“It will depend on the coming months but obviously we have a lot of players out of contract.”
Rangers did recruit in the summer to revamp the squad but the new arrivals have had mixed success. While expressing his delight at Antonio Colak’s current form and Premiership player of the month award, Van Bronckhorst said some players hit the ground running while others take time to adapt. He explained the recruitment policy and said that at no point had he been overruled on players he wanted to bring in.
“Obviously when you have signings you will have some who will adapt quicker, are quicker into the line-up,” he said. “That’s obvious for every team. The focus when it doesn’t go well is always on the players who aren’t playing.
“As I said before, we had a plan to get new players in, which is always the case when you lose many players.
“Last season we were finished quite early in the window from all the acquisitions we had.
“You work with a list, with the scouting team and of course with players that I follow myself. In the end due to various reasons you come to the players we have brought in now. It’s not about who makes the call but about how we make the call together, that’s the normal process.
“It’s always collective. The one goal is to be successful and that’s how I always worked at all my clubs. Coaches are always thinking short-term but the club needs to think long-term with the process and a vision for many years to come.
“I think coaches and players come and go so it’s very important that the club has a vision of where it’s going for the next years.”