By George Overhill

16th May, 2023 | 4:10pm

Malik Tillman blanks Rangers transfer question with 'giant custard pie' amid £5million speculation on 'special' Ibrox ace

Malik Tillman avoided providing any insight into his Rangers future when picking up the PFA Young Player of the Year, giving Peter Martin a “giant custard pie” to his “thinly-veiled” question, the host claimed.

The PLZ Soccer man was fronting proceedings at the Sunday night ceremony and admits he tried to get a hint from the young American as to whether he will return to Ibrox after his successful loan season, but got nothing in return.

Alan Rough is eager to see what the future holds for the Bayern Munich attacking midfielder, reacting to the award by agreeing Tillman is a “special” talent.

Speaking on PLZ Soccer’s The Football Show the day after (15 May, 41m 45s) Martin asked: “Young Player of the Year, Roughie, Malik Tillman?”

The former Scotland keeper replied: “Yeah, I think any time we’ve had a chance to see him he looks special. You can tell that by the £5million tag that’s on him.

“He’s only a young lad, the things that we saw him do have been very good. Consistency level? Obviously he got injured there and we never saw him fulfil the season. I’m just interested to see whether he comes back or not. You asked him didn’t you?”

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Martin admitted: “Yeah I gave him a little, thinly-veiled one, ‘be nice to see you here.’ And he just gave me a giant custard pie.”

Waiting game

Tillman has clearly done enough this season to warrant being kept at Ibrox but his £5million asking price places him tantalisingly in no-man’s land between a certainty and deal that has to be uncomfortably let slip away.

With a greater transfer budget or fewer players required this summer it is likely that Michael Beale would go all out to convince the 20-year-old to stay.

A season that has seen him feature 43 times in all competitions, scoring 12 goals and laying on five assists, is the sort of contribution that the manager will likely be looking for from others he is targeting in the transfer market.

And having already proven that he can be an asset in Scottish football, more often than not, the concern of whether a player will adapt to the league is not present.

But with some estimates suggesting Rangers need to sign as many as 12 players this summer, to replace outgoing veterans on expiring deals and to increase the quality of a squad that is coming in a long way behind Celtic in the SPFL table, it may be that £5million is required to fund multiple smaller moves.

That said, if the links to Aris winger Luis Palma come to fruition at somewhere near the same price it would immediately put the Honduran under pressure to be better than Tillman, unless the Light Blues can somehow land both.

In other Rangers news, the Bears have moved on to a new summer target after hitting an expensive roadblock in the pursuit of one heavily-linked potential signing.