Rangers have confirmed the departure of five first team players when their contracts expire this summer.
Scott Arfield, Filip Helander, Ryan Kent, Allan McGregor and Alfredo Morelos will all leave the club at the end of the current campaign as manager Michael Beale begins an extensive revamp of his squad.
While Kent and Morelos had been widely expected to leave, the news comes as confirmation that McGregor will draw a line under his long Ibrox career.
The futures of Arfield and Helander, who has been troubled by injuries throughout his time in Glasgow, had been unclear before the announcement.
Beale has been vocal about the need to change the squad as he aims to mount a title challenge next season and take the club through Champions League qualification, and the manager had voiced a desire to lower the average age of the squad.
“Individually, excellent contributions,” Beale said at his media conference ahead of the match against Hearts. “As a group, we’re losing a lot of experience, and a lot of quality.
“Their contribution to Rangers has been huge. Obviously with Steven Davis having a long-term injury we want to help him through his rehab and out the other side to full fitness and then a decision will be made by Steven as to whether he’s going to continue playing or not. That one is separate to those five.
“It’s a sad one in many ways and I’m sure the fans will show their appreciation to those players tomorrow night in the last home game. They’ve all given really big contributions to the club.
“It’s also a sign that there’s going to be some change in the squad this summer as well.”
McGregor, who turned 41 in January, has played over 500 games for the club across two spells and won 13 trophies as well as playing in two European finals. The veteran goalkeeper is to be honoured with a testimonial match against Newcastle United on July 18.
Morelos, who joined the club in 2017 from HJK Helsinki, is Rangers’ top European goalscorer and was the club’s first choice striker for much of his time at Ibrox. However, the Colombian’s form had dipped over the last two seasons and questions had been asked about both his fitness and attitude.
Kent impressed on loan from Liverpool in the 2018-19 season, prompting Rangers to spend a reported £7m to take the winger to Ibrox on a permanent deal. He played a major part in the club’s title win in 2021 but a new deal was not agreed and Beale had previously indicated that the player would be moving on.
Experienced midfielder Arfield moved to the club in 2018 and had played over 230 times for the club, regularly contributing goals and often making a key contribution from the bench but at 34 he was not considered as part of Beale’s plans for the future.
Helander, signed by Steven Gerrard in a multi-million pound deal from Bologna, made a strong impression when he played but the Sweden international suffered a series of injuries that restricted his appearances to just 60 games in four years.
In a statement on the club website, Rangers said: “Each of the departing players has given the club excellent service and will move on to the next stage in their careers with the warmest wishes and thanks of everyone at Ibrox and the Rangers Training Centre.
“The individuals have contributed enormously to the club‘s capture of a record 55th Scottish league title, last season’s Scottish Cup, the run to the UEFA Europa League final and qualification for the UEFA Champions League this season.”
More to follow…