By George Overhill

10th Sep, 2022 | 8:40pm

Rangers may see Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos leave on the cheap in January after recent events

Rangers face the prospect of losing star men Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos for minor fees in January after a torrid recent run for the pair.

With the English winger and the Colombian striker both inside the final year of their current contracts that obviously raises the prospect of them leaving for free in a year’s time.

Talks had been in progress with both over extending their stays at Ibrox but there has still been no news on agreements with either, and those discussions with El Bufalo were even curtailed when he was dropped by Giovanni van Bronckhorst following his red card against Hibernian on 20 August.

That was the catalyst for a significant demotion in status for the star goalscorer as concerns about his attitude and fitness while he recovered from thigh surgery came to a head when he was sent off just 13 minutes after coming off the bench.

He had scored on his Rangers return from injury against Kilmarnock (6 August) but that remains his only goal this season, and despite a reconciliation with the manager he has since seen just half an hour of action at the end of the lost cause Old Firm derby at Celtic Park.

There was talk of summer interest from Sevilla, and they now have their eye on him to sign a January pre-contract and make a free transfer in the summer [The Athletic].

Kent’s standing has taken a swifter recent nose-dive after back-to-back 4-0 thrashings in high profile matches at Parkhead and against Ajax.

He has three assists so far this year, but no goals, and hasn’t bothered the statisticians since the victory over Ross County two weeks ago (27 August).

While there are long-standing misgivings about his impact in terms of goals and assists his overall contribution tends to make up for it, and when the team if performing it would not be a disaster for him to be returning the numbers he is so far.

Of more concern is the fact that his recent showings have been virtual non-entities, with his most obvious contribution of late being when he allowed Celtic to take a quick free-kick for Jota’s goal by giving the ball back and then not paying attention as it was taken.

That game has also seen him compared unfavourably to Hoops attacker Liel Abada who made the contrast obvious by scoring twice.

That Michael Stewart [BBC Sport] made that point might be no surprise, but Kenny Miller [Daily Record] is among those with Gers backgrounds to have done the same.

Neither of the two Ibrox attacking stars are therefore anywhere near peak performance at the moment, or by the looks of things particularly happy.

Steven Gerrard’s former assistant Michael Beale suggested before the transfer window shut (28 August) that whatever transfer fee could be brought in for the pair would be outweighed by what they can provide on the pitch this season, especially with Rangers back in the Champions League, so selling them wasn’t the right move.

Normally that would be true, but with Kent producing next to nothing in key games recently, and Morelos barely even seeing the field, it is no longer the case.

If the current situation goes on much further then it is difficult to see either side being happy to agree to prolonging it, and makes cut-price exits the best of a bad set of options come January.

There is of course the possibility that they are both able to snap out of their current malaises, and the coaching staff clearly have a responsibility towards that as well, and the landscape changes entirely, but as things stand that feels a long way off.

In other Rangers news, one major European manager sacking this week had a key game at Ibrox as part of the reason.