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Is Steven Gerrard ready to take a gamble on his loan Rangers?

© Alan Harvey / SNS GroupSteven Gerrard has a decision to make over loan Rangers Ianis Hagi and Florian Kamberi
Steven Gerrard has a decision to make over loan Rangers Ianis Hagi and Florian Kamberi

Rangers have been left pondering whether to take a six-figure June gamble on Ianis Hagi, Florian Kamberi and Sheyi Ojo.

Last week it emerged UEFA are committed to completing all club competitions by June 30.

In Scotland, where the season has been suspended until further notice because of the coronavirus outbreak, that would likely mean top-flight clubs having to try to cram the remaining eight league fixtures in as close as possible to the deadline.

Doing so, however, would throw up a number of issues – chief among them what to do about the loan players in their squads.

While they have different end- of-contract dates, all are currently tied into the league schedule and, officially, the season ends on
June 9 with the 2020-21 transfer window opening 24 hours later.

In the current extraordinary circumstances, switching dates around to allow outstanding fixtures to be played would not be a problem.

But getting players to stay on under an extension would require the approval of the parent clubs and, of course, an extra month’s wages would need to be paid.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon acknowledged as much when stating that his club might need to have a conversation with Southampton about Fraser Forster and Mohamed Elyounoussi.

Forster has been a huge success since returning to the Hoops and will be a transfer target for sure while Elyounoussi, a Norwegian internationalist, has also made a significant contribution and may likewise be targetted.

Rangers’ situation is less straightforward. They like Hagi, son of Romanian star Gheorghe, who they have in from Belgian club Genk.

He has made a good impact since joining on January deadline day, in a deal struck with a view to a permanent transfer with Rangers having first option to buy.

With three goals and two assists to his credit already, the 21-year-old’s potential is clear for all to see and it is significant that Serie A giants Lazio are among his admirers.

At £4 million, his fee looked decidedly reasonable – at least until the club’s revenue stream was cut off by the coronavirus.

With that being the case, an extension would allow manager Steven Gerrard the extra time to make a decision he spoke of when stating the club was not under pressure “to push the button” on a permanent move.

Kamberi is a strange one with the 25-year-old Swiss having taken the unusual step of alienating supporters of his parent club Hibs at the start of his January loan by publicly declaring his delight at getting to join Rangers.

Easter Road boss Jack Ross was among those taken aback and agreed it would be difficult for him to return.

Yet, while the striker has had his moments for the Light Blues, he could not be said to have set the heather on fire.

Given that, Rangers could decide to pass which in theory would have him playing against them for Hibs before the season is done with.

Gerrard’s close ties with Liverpool would suggest he could keep or lose Ojo as he pleased, while the form of Jamie Murphy at Burton Albion, where the Scot has scored seven goals in nine games, would present a decision to be made the other way.