It's safe to say that since my last site editorial things have not gone well for Rangers...

Despite a late draw against Celtic after an awful first 45mins in that game, the side have capitulated further in our subsequent matches at Ross County and Dundee to fall three points behind our rivals at the top of the table. Yes, the title hasn't gone yet and we've clawed back success from worse positions but with the team (and manager if we're being honest) looking a shadow of themselves in recent weeks, Celtic are now massive favourites.

With that in mind and with supporters debating/arguing amongst themselves about who is to blame for poor results and who should stay or go over the summer, it's a good time to examine the general status of the squad which you can view in the image above.

Please bear in mind these are my opinions only and I appreciate these will differ markedly from supporter to supporter (and perhaps from week to week for some people).

Indeed, rather than calling for players to leave, it's perhaps easier to say who we'd keep so from all those who have featured at least once this season (or nominally considered a first team player), I've highlighted those I'd keep in white and those out of contract (or on loan deals due to expire) in orange and those I'd try to move on in red. If I'm not fussy either way, I'll leave them as grey.

For info, there are 37 players on the graphic above so I'd suggest we really need to decrease that number to closer to 30 for next season.

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After some consideration, from this squad of 37, I have only nine players I'd really want to keep and it may well be from those, Butland and Yilmaz could be sold to help finance any new signings leaving us with just seven players plus Tavernier and Goldson plus another seven fringe/youth players, meaning we'd need to sign at least 12 players in the summer if we accept returning loanees such as Hagi, Cifu and Lammers will also be moved on permanently.

I would imagine both Diomande and Cortes will be retained (I think the former is already agreed) so that takes us down to 10. If possible, I'd also be happy to bring back Sima and would actually give a (suitable) extension to Lundstram. That takes us to eight players; not an unrealistic amount to sign in one window given we did the same last summer but it could be more difficult if fans really want rid of Tavernier, Goldson and Lundstram - three key/influential players whether we like it or not. Who would you have as our new captain from the right hand column of retained players?

It's also worth noting the poor performance (and/or utilisation) of our youth system. Ross McCausland was a surprise, and arguably forced, addition to the starting XI earlier this season but he's struggled to maintain his position since whilst other highly thought of younger players like Leon King and Bailey Rice have been unable to force their way into the side. There are few others we could consider likely to do so in 2024/25 so I wouldn't expect any wonderkids to magically appear.

If we look at the right column of the graphic and make some admittedly strong assumptions (though they are popular amongst a vocal element of the support) then you can see how weak our squad could be for next season. Only one inexperienced goalkeeper of note, only one centre-half of note, no left back and just three senior midfielders means it's only really the attacking area of the side that looks reasonably competent. And even that relies on Sima and Cortes returning from their initial loans with the latter and Danilo also regaining full fitness in short order for the season starting. To say the squad would be well short of the standard required and would need significant investment is somewhat of an understatement.

With that in mind, it's clearly crucial that we maximise the quality of those that come in but nothing is certain there in terms of contribution. Long term injuries to Danilo, Dowell and Cortes over this season show one unpredictable and negative outcome whilst the rest of our recruitment last summer really was abysmal with only Butland, Sima and Dessers (to a limited extent in his case) offering any kind of positive return and none of them may be here next season!

In conclusion, I'm as annoyed and disappointed as every other Rangers fan with recent let-downs and emotionally agree we need to start again in many areas of the squad. However, this article shows such emotion is difficult to apply in a constructive, team-building manner. It's also very, very expensive with no guarantees. Nevertheless, we cannot afford another poor window - both in financial and sporting terms so the pressure is definitely on the manager and scouting department to deliver substantial improvement in an affordable, innovative fashion. That is very much easier said than done...

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