By George Overhill

8th Apr, 2023 | 8:10am

Rangers: BBC Sports' Tom English drops 'brutally hard' Michael Beale verdict amid £15m forecast for Celtic challenge

Michael Beale may have as much as £15million “to play with” on the Rangers wage bill this summer but faces a “brutally hard” task in the market, claims Tom English.

The Ibrox boss is facing an exodus of senior pros at the conclusion of their contracts at the end of the campaign, with Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent the most high profile of a group that also includes the likes of Allan McGregor and Scott Arfield.

He needs to overhaul a squad that is nine points behind Celtic heading into Saturday’s Old Firm derby at Parkhead (8 April), and English believes the manager has a major challenge to match the Hoops’ market exploits.

In his derby preview for BBC Sport English said: “Celtic have brought in a ton of players under [Ange] Postecoglou, but their net spend in the market has been jaw-droppingly small, sitting at about £8m. The management of the club has been exceptional.”

While over at Ibrox he tipped Filip Helander, Steven Davis, McGregor, Arfield and Ryan Jack for exits, adding: “If Beale lets most, or all, of them leave he’s got £10-£15m a year in wages to play with.

“Is Ryan Kent offering value for the significant money he is on? Is time finally up for Alfredo Morelos? Is Malik Tillman worth the £4-£6m it would take to get him on a permanent deal from Bayern Munich?

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“Can he find some gems? He says there are “no restrictions” on his budget. Saying it out loud doesn’t make it so. This is going to be brutally hard for Beale.”


Beale has been working at a disadvantage for his whole time in charge at Rangers, having arrived with the SPFL title race looking over already.

He hasn’t dropped a single point on Celtic since then, albeit he did lose the Viaplay Cup final, with his only league blemish 2-2 draw in the 2 January derby at Ibrox.

A second defeat to Postecoglou and a third meeting without a win at Parkhead this weekend will demonstrate quite how his flawless record outside of clashes with the other side of Glasgow means nothing if he can’t win those games.

There is no big-ticket asset to sell this summer like Calvin Bassey or Joe Aribo, with so many likely to leave for free, and while there is some potential for profit still Beale, Ross Wilson and company are going to have to get creative.

It is going to have to be hidden gems, potential loans, or taking advantage of unhappy situations for minimal cost as with the acquisitions of Todd Cantwell and Nico Raskin, but there is a gap to Celtic that cannot be ignored and it needs closing fast.

It is up for debate how much the Rangers squad would be weakened by some of the potential departures, but it is also open to question how much last summer’s arrivals improved it, so this time around it is going to need to be a much clearer success or it will be another season of disappointment at Ibrox and some more key figures may end up following Douglas Park out of their jobs.

In other Rangers news, the club’s fanbase have been tipped to welcome an unhappy but quality player to Glasgow with open arms if a deal can be done.