With Michael Beale’s comments today ringing in Rangers’ fans ears, the manager has placed the gauntlet down, as much to Ryan Kent as anyone.
Beale has conjectured that the winger wants to stay at Ibrox, and that he’s genuinely happy in Govan, but completely glossed over the reason he hasn’t signed the new deal.
For Kent’s part, he’s avoided comment most of the year, only making brief pre-Sevilla comments about tickets in the press, and a small post-match analysis after Aberdeen. He certainly has avoided press conferences 100%, knowing full well what he’d be asked.
Consequently the state of play with Ryan Kent is this:
He remains settled in Scotland with his family, and indeed really bedded down a while ago, especially when his partner came back. And what Beale says is true, Kent does want to stay – but there are two conditions.
One is the part of him that knows he’s signing his Premier League chances goodbye if he extends, in the same way Joe Aribo would have been. It’s the ambition of all English players and we don’t blame him on that one.
Two? Is what Douglas Park alluded to – Kent wants big money to stay – he wants, from our info, over £50,000 a week, the same level he’d get in the English Championship, or lower Premier League and that’s money the club cannot afford or sustain. It would be the biggest wage in Rangers’ history.
He doesn’t want this cash because he’s greedy, he wants it because to accept considerably less would be less than his market value – Joe Aribo is now on a wage of around that amount, well over double the £20,000 he got at Ibrox, and no one ever whined at him for being attracted to a higher salary. Ditto Bassey, ditto Patterson. Kent sees himself among those calibre of players and thinks he should be rewarded on that level.
He wants that to be at Rangers, but the club can’t afford it.
Which means unless he reduces his demands, which the club and Beale would love, he’s not going to sign the offered deal. Park rightly said his wage demands are unsustainable, and so we find ourselves at a stand-off.
So what happens now? Unless one side caves and gives in to the other side, Kent is going to sign a precontract in March or see his Rangers deal expire in the summer. And if the latter, he will leave unless he gets no good offers ala Connor Goldson. In which case he’ll have little option.
But as things stand, Beale isn’t going to get his way.