Rangers are keen to sign Belgian U21 international Manuel Benson from Antwerp during the summer transfer window, according to Voetbal Nieuws.
With even the biggest clubs in the Scottish Premiership forced to box clever during a transfer market beset by financial uncertainty, it seems that one Glasgow giant has hatched a rather intriguing plan.
Rangers appear to be on the verge of signing Ianis Hagi on a permanent deal from Genk while Saido Berahino, the one-time West Brom wonder-kid, is also on Steven Gerrard’s radar after he got his career back on track at Zulte Waregam.
According to reports from the continent, there is now a third Jupiler League ace on Rangers’ radar.
Antwerp paid a club-record £2.7 million to sign Benson from Genk last summer but it’s fair to say the rapid winger has not exactly proven to be value for money at the Bosuilstadion. In 20 matches, Benson scored just once while providing a further two assists.
That does not mean, however, that Antwerp are ready to cut their losses already. Manager Ivan Leko, the former Croatia international, wants to keep hold of Benson for at least another year with the forward’s searing pace integral to his tactical plans.
Then again, with clubs in Belgium likely to be hit hard by the ongoing financial crisis, Rangers may be able to tempt Antwerp into a sale if they are willing to make a sizeable offer.
Their interest in Benson will surely increase the speculation surrounding the futures of Jordan Jones and Brandon Barker, both of whom have struggled for game-time under Gerrard. Sheyi Ojo, meanwhile, returned to Liverpool recently with his season-long loan deal coming to an end.
Antwerp finished fourth in the table this season, qualifying for the Europa League.