RANGERS are set to clinch the signing of highly-rated Sporting Lisbon midfielder Umaro Balde.

The Light Blues have enjoyed a successful campaign at youth level after winning honours at a number of age groups and Balde will now look to take the next step in his career by completing a move to Glasgow.

Rangers won the Reserve League at Under-20s level, lifted the Under-18 League and Youth Cup double and also won the Al Kass Cup in Qatar.

Balde will now commit his future to Rangers as the Portuguese youth international prepares to put pen-to-paper on a two-year deal.

Boss Steven Gerrard has involved a number of his up-and-coming kids with the first team throughout the campaign and handed 17-year-old Dapo Mebude his debut in the final game of the Premiership campaign against Kilmarnock on Sunday.


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The striker replaced Daniel Candeias for the last half an hour of the game as Rangers suffered a 2-1 defeat at Rugby Park and Gerrard will take a handful of youth players with his Light Blues squad on their pre-season training camp next month.

Balde is now poised to join the ranks at the Hummel Training Centre as he looks to progress after rising through the levels in a Sporting setup that has produced a string of international stars in recent years.

The Bissau-born holding midfielder has impressed Academy staff after travelling to Glasgow for a trial and Rangers won't need to pay a fee to conclude a deal this summer.

Rangers have invested significantly in their youth structure in recent years in an attempt to produce players capable of moving into the first team and it is believed that Albanian prospect Albert Rachi, who joined Tottenham Hotspur last year, is also on their radar for next season.

The Gers are also interested in Kilmarnock kid Liam Smith and are amongst a host of clubs - including English Treble winners Manchester City - to have scouted the Rugby Park striker in recent months.