PHILIPPE Clement has put talks with every out-of-contract Rangers player on hold until the end of the season so they can focus fully on winning the cinch Premiership and Scottish Gas Scottish Cup this month.

No fewer than six members of the Ibrox club’s first team squad are free to leave at the end of the 2023/24 campaign – Leon Balogun, Borna Barisic, Ryan Jack, John Lundstram, Jon McLaughlin and Kemar Roofe. 

That is a situation which has bewildered Clement, who took over from Michael Beale back in October following a disappointing run of results, and he has stated publicly that he is keen to avoid a similar scenario in future.

However, he has admitted that he will only make calls on their future following the Scottish Cup final against Celtic at Hampden on May 25 because he is eager for his charges to concentrate on the important matches coming up.

The Belgian wants to see the right attitude from every player he has at his disposal as the Viaplay Cup winners bid to land the Premiership and Scottish Cup trophies – starting with the league encounter with Kilmarnock in Govan tomorrow afternoon. 

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Asked if centre half Balogun will be offered an extension this summer, he said: “Leon is somebody who showed every day the right mentality, the right passion for the club. So that can be something that is on the table at the end of the season.

“But it is the end of the season that we can make a really good evaluation about everything and everybody. It is going to be a very interesting period in that way for us to make the right decisions for next season also.

“To see how everybody trains, plays, behaves, works, shows resilience in the next couple of weeks because you want to be successful with this club so we need the right players in the building.”

The Herald: Clement added: “I think it is now very important we have the next two weeks for the games, that the players are focused on football. If they are busy now with those things it would be a bad thing here.

“If it was two weeks ago and there was a decision we had time to talk at that moment, now we need to put it on hold until the end of the season and to put everything on these four games.”

Reports in Turkey this week suggested that Rangers left back Barisic had agreed to join Super Lig outfit Trabzonspor in the summer – and that his Ibrox team mate Lundstram is on the verge of joining him.

Clement was unable to provide any update on either the defender or the midfielder – but he did stress that he had no concerns about the commitment of the duo to the Glasgow club’s cause.

“There have been reports for months about a lot of players and a lot of things,” he said. “As long as nothing is official and I see the right things in the training and the dressing room, players are selectable.

“Borna will be in the selection from what I have seen until now. If he steps into the building tomorrow with another mindset that is something else. I don’t believe so. I see somebody who is serving this club already a long time and is really hungry for more titles and more trophies.”

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Clement continued: “There is nothing official around that. I am not naïve, the longer that things last the more possibility that other people step in. But for the moment apparently the water is too deep between the two sides.  

“But I see Lunny every day the same way that he was two months ago, three months ago, five months ago. He is fighting for the club. All these players are busy with winning trophies and doing the right things together. Otherwise they would not be in the selection.”

Elsewhere, Clement has admitted that he is unsure if Jack, who is hopeful of being selected in the Scotland squad for the Euro 2024 finals in Germany next month, will play again this season even though the midfielder returned to training along with left back Ridvan Yilmaz this week.

‘I don’t know,” he said. “I cannot predict. It’s depends on his level and what he shows in the next couple of weeks. It’s not a long time any more. He needs to get fit first to be selectable. That’s the first step to take.”

Meanwhile, Clement is optimistic that both Abdallah Sima and Rabbi Matondo will play for Rangers again this season.