THE arrivals are always more important than the departures during a transfer window, especially in the summer as teams prepare for the campaign ahead.

That will be the case for Steven Gerrard in the coming months, but the Rangers boss has a job to do in terms of clearing the decks as well as bolstering his ranks ahead of his second term at Ibrox.

It has become a familiar task in recent seasons as Mark Warburton, Pedro Caixinha and then Gerrard himself have tried to remove some of the deadwood that they inherited from the squad. It can often be a difficult and costly undertaking, especially when contracts need to be paid up to get players out of the door.

Gerrard has insisted in recent weeks that some of his current crop are playing for their futures at Ibrox and his cutting remarks about the ‘embarrassing’ performance during a draw with the Liverpool Under-23s this week don’t bode well for some of those that he has in his sights.

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Here, we assess who seems certain of their place and who looks to be fighting a losing battle for their Light Blues berths.

SQUAD SPOT IS SECURED

As Gerrard looks to improve the strength and depth of the squad across the park, there are a handful who could be considered as sure starters. Keeper Allan McGregor is one, and there is no chance of him or the likes of Connor Goldson or Scott Arfield moving on.

Summer signings Nikola Katic and Jon Flanagan and Glen Kamara and Matt Polster, who arrived in January, will have squad places to provide competition.

That will be the case for Steven Davis and Jermain Defoe as well and Gerrard will hope to get the best out of the veteran pair once they have a full pre-season under their belts.

In Jamie Murphy, Gerrard will have someone that is almost like a new signing once he is up to speed after a serious knee injury.

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Others, such as Andy Halliday, Ryan Jack, Ross McCrorie and Daniel Candeias, have rarely let Gerrard down this term and should be valuable assets once again, as will new recruits Jordan Jones and Jake Hastie.

Having made sweeping changes last season, Gerrard now has a reliable core of players in place and he can focus on quality rather than quantity this summer.

COULD BE ALLOWED TO LEAVE

The main questions here revolve around key assets James Tavernier and Alfredo Morelos. Supporters will, of course, be keen to see the pair remain at Ibrox, but if funds are required to add to the transfer kitty then it would be no surprise to see one, or both, move on.

Tavernier still has his critics at Ibrox but his performances and his numbers rank him amongst Rangers’ most important players and the fact that Gerrard trusts him to be captain says much about the faith he has in him. If he were to leave, the money would need to be significant.

When it comes to Morelos, only time will tell. The Colombian won’t be short of suitors and Rangers will have to decide whether to stick or twist in an interesting situation.

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Losing either of those players would be a blow for Rangers, but others – such as Borna Barisic and Eros Grezda - haven’t impressed and wouldn’t be as big a loss if they were to depart after just one season at Ibrox. The same could be said for Kyle Lafferty after a campaign that has yielded just six goals for Rangers and Gerrard has every right to be frustrated with the contributions of a handful of players this term.

In terms of others on the cut line, Graham Dorrans has seen another campaign wrecked by injury and it is hard to see him becoming a prominent member of the team again, but Jordan Rossiter and Greg Docherty deserve a chance to prove themselves following their loan spells with Bury and Shrewsbury respectively. Ryan Hardie may get a chance as well but that depends on what other business Gerrard does in the final third.

Youngster Glenn Middleton could benefit from a temporary switch away if his chances are going to be limited given the new faces. Gerrard must also decide the fates of several young players and whether they remain at Ibrox or go elsewhere to play regularly.

WILL BE HEADING FOR THE EXIT DOOR

Ryan Kent will leave Ibrox at the end of the season but Rangers haven’t given up hope of bringing him back from Liverpool for another loan spell. That surely won’t happen with Joe Worrall and Lassana Coulibaly, though, when they return to Nottingham Forest and Angers respectively.

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Gareth McAuley is out of contract and out of favour and Lee Wallace’s time at Ibrox is up as he gets set to bow out. Wes Foderingham will surely look to find regular football elsewhere and Gerrard has kid Robby McCrorie or Andy Firth that could provide back-up to McGregor.

Then there are the forgotten names such as Jason Holt, Joe Dodoo and Jak Alnwick that have spent the season south of the border and Rangers won’t be hard to deal with if there are any suitors this summer.

The natural evolution and drop off from the squad will free up funds that can be recycled and Gerrard’s ranks will have more of his identity stamped on it. The most interesting factor will be how many of the more recent signings don’t make the cut for the second crack at the Premiership title.