Michael Beale must finally hand Leon King first team opportunity after Rangers transfer admission
Rangers boss Michael Beale revealed on Friday he is looking to strengthen his options at centre-back but still hasn’t managed to hand one promising talent an opportunity at Ibrox.
Beale is expected to be very busy in the summer transfer window, with Rangers linked with a long list of players over the coming months as they look to revamp the whole squad ahead of a hugely expectant season next year.
The Scottish Sun reported on 12 May that Rangers have all but completed deals for Kieran Dowell and Jack Butland on free transfers this summer and are also said to be close to signing Chelsea youngster Dujon Sterling also.
And speaking ahead of this Sunday’s clash with Hibernian at Easter Road [via Rangers official Twitter page, 19 May], Beale provided promising news for the Gers fans, confirming he is looking to add to his options at centre-back – a key area to strengthen.
He said: “John Souttar has been great, we have discussed the idea of three at the back.
“We will add to this area in the summer to give us even more competition for places.”
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We’ve seen in the recent past how lacklustre Rangers have been without Connor Goldson’s presence at the back, with both Ben Davies and Souttar giving away cheap goals through terrible and needless errors in defence.
The Gers centre-back options are fairly limited right now, especially in Goldson’s absence and with Beale seeking to run the rule over his squad in the closing weeks of the Scottish Premiership season, he possesses a player on his books who still hasn’t been given the chance to show his worth for the foreseeable future.
Academy product Leon King has barely featured under Beale’s stewardship, since he was thrust into the deep end of Champions League action in the first half of the season, under Giovanni van Bronckhorst.
The 19-year-old has had injuries to contend with, but one solitary minute of Scottish Premiership football in 2023 certainly won’t see the talented sensational reach his undoubted potential.
The Athletic claimed (31 January) the Light Blues had knocked back “attractive” loan proposals for the defender, and that decision is now looking rather baffling.
The Gers have handed rare starts for Rabbi Matondo, Ianis Hagi and even Robby McCrorie who has proven a spectacular decision after strong performances in recent weeks, but such a chance strangely hasn’t been provided for King with nothing left of the season for Rangers to play for.
Beale had previously suggested that King’s gametime would come eventually, “if he deserves” the opportunity to start (The Herald, 11 March), but given the chances he’s handed to his other fringe players, it may be time for the former QPR manager to give the Ibrox talent an opportunity against Hibernian to show he’s more than capable of fighting for a place in the team, even if Beale manages to strengthen the position this summer.
King has seen his development stall massively. He was playing regularly in the Champions League during the first part of the campaign. Quite why Rangers decided to turn down the chance to send him out on loan remains to be seen.
Right now, Beale’s centre-back options look depleted on paper. Rangers fans will be delighted to hear that he has plans to strengthen the position for next season, but they’d be even more ecstatic to see one of their own blossom and swiftly become a key figure in the future.
In other Rangers news, one Gers ace will leave and likely move abroad because he isn’t getting enough game time to warrant staying, according to Peter Grant.