Michael Beale: Ianis Hagi may leave Rangers before window closes

The attacker publicly aired his frustration at not starting games for Rangers.

Michael Beale: Ianis Hagi may leave Rangers before transfer window closes SNS Group

Rangers manager Michael Beale has admitted that Ianis Hagi could leave the club this month after becoming unhappy at his lack of game time.

The Romanian attacker came off the bench during Saturday’s Viaplay Cup win over Morton but has struggled for game time since returning from a year out recovering from a knee injury.

Hagi publicly aired his frustrations after the Morton game, saying that he wanted to play regularly and didn’t have to prove himself to Rangers.

The Ibrox club have now submitted their squad list for the Champions league play-off tie against PSV Eindhoven, with Hagi dropping out of the squad to be replaced by Rabbi Matondo.

Rangers boss Beale didn’t link Hagi’s absence to his comments, but did concede that the international player may be heading for the exit door.

“Rabbi has shown a good face in the last couple of weeks in terms of his speed and directness and we may need that over the two legs,” Beale said.

“I’ve no issue with Ianis.

“I think as he put in his own words, he’s happy when he’s playing football and he’s missed football for a year.

“He wants to play week in, week out as a starter, so it may be that between now and the end of the window we look at that.

“I thought he did well when he came into the game at the weekend.”

The manager said that he had frank discussions with the player, and that Hagi’s agent was “looking at options”.

“Me and Ianis spoke after three or four days of pre-season. He missed a year.

“I brought him back into the team against Partick Thistle last year very early into his rehab and it was very clear at that moment he wasn’t ready.

Over the summer he’s worked very hard to be fit. I wouldn’t say he’s at optimal fitness right now and I think the conversation has always been very honest.

He’s a player that I have a strong relationship with on a personal level.

“His desire is that he wants to be a main starter and play every game. No one has that guarantee here at Rangers.

“He’s competing with Todd Cantwell for that role and maybe Sam Lammers and one or two others. Tom Lawrence is now returning.

“So it’s now about what does Ianis need after being out for a year. Those conversations and options are what Ianis and his agent have been looking at for the last week or so.

“In the background there’s been a lot going on.”

Hagi, son of Romanian football icon Gheorghe Hagi, moved to Rangers from Belgian side Genk in 2020, initially on loan.

The 24-year-old has made nearly 100 appearances for Rangers in that time, but the knee injury sustained against Stirling Albion in January 2022 saw him miss more than twelve months of football.

“Every footballer wants to play,” Hagi said at the weekend. “I’m obviously disappointed by the situation but I respect the gaffer’s decisions. That doesn’t mean I agree with them but I respect them – he’s the manager of this club. I’m a simple guy, I just love football. I train 100 per cent on a daily basis, I come back from a one-year injury, they know who I am and they know my history at this football club, what I’ve done. I just want to play.

“I’ve won at this football club individual and collective trophies. I just love to play football. That’s what I’ve done since I started walking as a kid. I’m just happy to be on the pitch and just enjoy my football. This is who I am, I am a simple guy.

“I’ve never felt better. I knew I needed a pre-season, I think I’m the only player in this team who has not missed a session this pre-season, plus the start of the season. I’ve been available for everything. I am happy with where I am physically. My stats are good, some of them are better than prior to injury. I’m in a really good place mentally and physically.

“All through my time here, I know what my job is, so whenever I am on the pitch I need to create for this team. Everybody knows what they have to do at this football club. People expect me to create chaos in their defence by offensive attacks. I know what I have to do.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code