Tongues are wagging (again) that Philippe Clement is interested in making a January move for Hearts captain Lawrence Shankland after Rangers’ Belgian manager was seen giving the Gorgie striker a notably warm hug following the Ibrox side’s win in Edinburgh last night.
The 28-year-old hitman, forever linked with a move to Govan (being a born and bred fan himself), has been in electric form in recent seasons and reproduces it on the international stage, proving himself more than capable of stepping up to higher levels.
Rangers were heavily linked for a move a couple of seasons ago, but elected not to go there and signed Cedric Itten instead, with then-Motherwell striker Lyndon Dykes also in the mix at that point.
But following his heroics at Hearts (he has 39 in 69 at Tynecastle) and another strong showing against his boyhood club last night, Clement’s distinctly obvious embrace of the former Ayr striker as opposed to polite gestures with his Hearts team mates did suggest a potential interest from the manager in the opposition striker.
Of course equally it could be a reference to Shankland’s short spell in Belgium himself, where he plied his trade for a time with Beerschot in a tenure which Clement would have most certainly witnessed in a match or two while both were employed in the Jupiler.
So Shankland will be a player Clement knows reasonably well.
But as well as his spell in Clement’s homeland, which didn’t go as horribly as some believe, it’s what he’s doing in the SPL that may have Rangers’ boss’s attention.
Hearts will want premium money for their captain, probably not a lot different to Aberdeen’s reported £6M pricetag on Bojan Miovski. Difference is Shankland is four years older so not as valuable, although try telling that to Harry Kane…
We’ll see in January if Rangers do finally make a serious fist of a move towards the striker.