By Sam Stone

4th Jan, 2023 | 8:40pm

Michael Beale transfer talk opens Rangers exit door for James Sands, £4.7m decision surely made

It’s been a difficult season for James Sands in a Rangers shirt with the 22-year-old enduring some tough individual moments throughout the campaign.

Rangers have the option to sign Sands for £4.7million at the end of his current loan deal (US journalist, Tom Bogert, Twitter, 7 June), however, after Michael Beale’s arrival it remains to be seen whether they will make his loan move permanent.

The January window will allow the new boss to assess what areas of his squad need improving and which players he would be happy to let go – and Beale could well have dropped a clue on Sands’ future.

The Light Blues have been linked with a move for Ecuador’s central defender William Pacho and that could well be Beale looking to add further quality to his defence (Het Nieuwsblad, 3 January).

Sands was a second-half substitute against Celtic and after Leon King’s contract extension, it seems extremely unlikely the Gers will fork out a large sum of money for a player who has failed to make an impact of late. Sending the New York City loanee back seems like the most sensible move, with the new boss potentially looking to use his funds elsewhere.

A new striker could well be on his radar with Alfredo Morelos yet to put pen to paper on a new deal at Ibrox. Furthermore, a suitable replacement for Ryan Kent could also be required if he moves on in the summer. Money clearly doesn’t grow on trees at Ibrox and utilising every penny available will be crucial for the new boss.

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Sadly for Sands, this loan move hasn’t quite worked out as he would’ve expected, and it’s now obvious Beale will be looking at other defensive targets to bolster his backline.

In other Rangers news, Heart and Hand revealed what Beale had said about the January transfer window on Twitter and it is possibly good news.