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Rangers defender Filip Helander has issued a blunt response to reported interest from Aston Villa and Leicester City, telling Fotbolskanalen that he is planning to stay at Ibrox beyond the summer. 

The Swedish international might not be the most glamourous or high-profile member of Steven Gerrard’s squad, but no one should underestimate the role Helander played in Rangers’ first Scottish Premiership title in a decade. 

The no-nonsense centre-back has been a rock at the heart of Britain’s most tight-knit defence, heading, clearing and tackling everything that moves. 

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s major Anfield moment

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s major Anfield moment
Rousing the Kop (Youtube)

Aftonbladet reports that Dean Smith’s Aston Villa and Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City are big fans of the former Bologna man, who moved to Scotland in a £4 million deal two years ago. 

But, after sampling the sweet taste of champagne north of the border, Helander has his heart set on lifting even more silverware in royal blue.  

“It’s just speculation. I feel good here and I have two years left on my contract here. That’s really the only thing I think about,” Helander said. 

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“I want to continue to perform well at Rangers and then hope to be able to join the European Championships this summer. This is where my focus lies.” 

The message, then, is clear. 

Aston Villa and Leicester must look elsewhere if they want a new central defender. 

The Foxes may have more luck with Attila Szalai, Fenerbahce’s Hungarian powerhouse. Blikk reports that the £23 million-rated giant would be keen on a move to the King Power Stadium. 

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In other news, Klopp has some good news for Liverpool fans