Philippe Clement planning major Rangers squad rebuild this summer

The Rangers manager expects a big turnover of players after the season ends.

Rangers manager Philippe Clement is expecting “quite a rebuild” this summer as he shapes his squad for the challenges ahead.

The Belgian has been reflecting on Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Celtic that all but handed Rangers’ rivals the Premiership title with two games left to play.

The sides will meet again in the Scottish Cup final at the end of this month, with Clement hoping to add the silverware to the League Cup he has already won since moving to Ibrox in October.

But while he plans on finishing the season strongly, the manager also has one eye on the challenges his side will face at home and in Europe next season, and the job he will have to do to put together a group that can succeed.

Borna Barisic, Kemar Roofe, Ryan Jack and John Lundstram are among the first team players reaching the end of their contracts at Ibrox, while Abdallah Sima, Fabio Silva and Oscar Cortes are all scheduled to return to their parent clubs when loan spells end.

That means a number of new signings are inevitable and Clement says work has been ongoing to identify the right recruits.

“There is going to be a turnaround in the squad,” the Rangers manager said. “That is clear with all the end-of-contract situations and everything.

“We’re working on that and we’ve been working on that for some months.

“I see the recruitment team are really busy finding the good profiles for next season, but now the next three games are important. It’s about now and about tomorrow.”

Clement did’t play down the size of the task and said that there would need to be a judgement on how to replace the departures, with a need for players who can build a resale value but also those who have been over the course before.

“It is going to be a big one because of all the out-of-contracts and maybe others also,” he said.

“It is going to be quite a rebuild.

“You want to keep the foundations of this season. You don’t want to start from zero again. So we need to find the balance in that, doing smart things for now and also for the future of the club.

“We need to bring assets in who can play every week now but are also for the future, and we also need to bring experience in if experience is leaving the building.”

Recruitment will require investment from the club and the manager is also keen to make changes behind the scenes. After working without a number of injured players throughout his time in Glasgow, and after revealing he will be missing 11 players for the Premiership match against Dundee on Tuesday, he wants to address fitness problems and says that is part of the conversation he has with the Rangers hierarchy.

“I think every manager in the world if he is talking about a rebuild he wants more money,” he said.

“I feel the club know how necessary it is to do that.

“But it is not only in recruitment, in other departments we need to make good decisions because we cannot have so many injuries. So we have to rebuild something there also.

“There are several things that need to change but I prefer to keep that in the building and make it better.”

Clement spelled out the injury problems he is facing as he prepares for Dundee. While John Lundstam is suspended following his red card at the weekend, Tom Lawrence, John Souttar and Dujon Sterling have joined an injury list that already included Connor Goldson, Leon Balogun, Oscar Cortes, Rabbi Matondo, Abdallah Sima, Danilo and Bailey Rice.

While the manager didn’t say that it was the only factor, he feels the ongoing problems with fitness and injury have been part of the reason they trail Celtic.

“If both teams are fully fit, there is not a big gap, but we need to prove this in results on the pitch,” he said.

“It is important for now to focus on our next three games.

“We have to do our best with the players available. We will fight really hard into the cup final and we need to stay with 11 [players on the pitch] and take our moments.

“We will push everything into the cup final and we know our support will back us as always.”

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