Leon Balogun to be offered Rangers stay as Philippe Clement drops major hint over defender's future

Philippe Clement has revealed he’s shelved talks with his out-of-contract stars while Rangers focus on one last big Premiership push.

But the Ibrox boss hinted Leon Balogun could be close to earning a longer stay after praising the defender for stepping in to fill Connor Goldson’s boots. It’s a role Balogun is going to have to continue covering after it was confirmed Goldson’s season is now over following a freak training ground collision. The Nigeria international is among a string of key men who are entering the final four weeks of their Gers deals.

The likes of John Lundstram and Borna Barisic have already been offered moves elsewhere with Turkish outfit Trabzonspor sniffing around, while Kemar Roofe and Ryan Jack are also up in the summer. But Clement has decided to put discussions on hold as he called for his squad to train their total focus on the club’s final four league games as they bid to overhaul Celtic’s three-point lead.

The big Belgian - whose side host Kilmarnock on Sunday - said: “I think it's 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.”

But Balogun has been offered an incentive to keep on performing after his boss 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’s 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.”

A drop in form saw Goldson dropped for Gers’ Scottish Cup semi-final win over Hearts and last week’s trip to St Mirren. And he’ll have to watch the remainder of the campaign from the stands after becoming the latest addition to Clement’s length crock list. He revealed: “On Wednesday in training, there was a duel, a player fell on Connor and he hurt his knee bad. He tried to continue but couldn’t. We made a scan and we see he has a tear in his medial ligament so he will be out for the rest of the season.

“In pre-season he will be back and he told me also he is happy about that because last season he missed almost all pre-season. It has already been a miracle that he played as many games and was fit for so much time.

“This injury was really bad luck, in a duel, falling down with two players and somebody falling on your knee. It can happen. That is really bad luck. It is of course a blow. He played 48 games this season so he has been important. He is one of the leaders in the team also and he took that role really well.

“That was also the first thing that he told me and said to me that he wanted to be in the dressing room in the next couple of games. Although he cannot play, he wants to be there for the boys and to support them. That shows the commitment he has towards this group and this club. He cannot be on the pitch to give the decisive ball or to score the goal or to make the tackle but you can say the right things.

“You can help people in their motivation, in their calmness, whatever they need at that moment and he's part of this group. I think it's also a good sign that somebody wants to be there for the team. Of course it is unlucky to lose him now but it has been the story of the season.”

Ridvan Yilmaz could make his return to action this weekend after a month out but Clement admits there’s still no timeframe on when Abdallah Sima, Rabbi Matondo and Ryan Jack could feature.