Philippe Clement tells Rangers board Jack Butland is not for sale at any price

-Credit:SNS Group
-Credit:SNS Group

Philippe Clement last night told the Rangers board to forget about cashing in on Jack Butland to fund his summer rebuild.

Gers’ Belgian boss has confessed a significant overhaul is now required at Ibrox after seeing this season’s title bid crash and burn at Parkhead on Saturday. With six first-team players heading out of contract and the loans for Fabio Silva and Abdallah Sima up at the end of the month, there is plenty of work to be done over the summer for Clement and his recruitment chief Nils Koppen. The Ibrox gaffer knows he’s going to have to duck and dive in the transfer market having been warned money will be tight.

Rangers are already committed to coughing up £4.5million to sign Mohamed DIomande at the end of the season and face shelling out further hefty sums if they want to sign Sima and Oscar Cortes permanently. That’s sparked fan fears that they may have to sell a major asset like Butland if they’re to bankroll a fresh round of spending.

But Clement is adamant that won’t happen. Asked if he would consider flogging his top stars this summer to finance a rebuild, he said: “That depends.

“You can only sell players if you’re sure you can get better for a lower price. You can then use the extra money that you have for different positions. That can maybe be a decision. But there are also a few players I don’t want to let go for any price.”

Asked if that included Butland, Clement said: “That’s a good example, yes. I think that’s a very important thing for this club.”

But Clement confirmed it will be another summer of change at Ibrox: “Yeah there’s a [major rebuild coming], we know that. We’ve been busy with that for months. I cannot put a number on how many we will bring in. I know a number, but I’m not going to put that in the media now.

“Will it be significant? Of course, because we have a lot of contracts ending also. We don’t have unlimited finances, so we need to make the right decisions in the positions and where to spend more and where to spend less.

“And of course, a story with the Champions League would also change things. We’re going to need to be more creative in that as a club, and we need to do it fast also, because we have decisive games in August in the league and in Europe.

“So, that makes it much more difficult. In the meantime you cannot lose points in the league. That is going to be a challenging period for everybody to make fast decisions, to make good decisions, and to convince people to come here also.

“But I can say that everybody on the board, in recruitment, is very motivated for that. And they are working really hard.”

Clement, meanwhile, has confirmed John Lundstram has apologised for the red card which blew apart any chance of Rangers rescuing a result at Celtic Park. Rangers needed a victory over their Old Firm foes to salvage this season’s title hopes but there was no way back when Lundstram got his marching orders for a late lunge on Alistair Johnston just before half-time.

Lundstram will sit out tonight’s dead rubber against Dundee as he begins a two-game ban - with some furious fans insisting he should also be dropped for next week’s Scottish Cup Final against the Hoops. But his gaffer said: “John spoke first to me to say sorry. He knew from the first second.

“He wanted to go for the ball because we were pressing high. If you can win that ball it can be a one-on-one situation and create a chance. He’s gone a split second too late and connects with the foot instead of the ball.

“I don’t want to see those tackles from that far. He knows, it’s one of our principles, it’s on the board in the dressing room. Players make mistakes, managers make mistakes and even sometimes journalists!

“Lunny has been giving a lot and that’s why I said after the game. In the last months was he always the best player? No. Did he have bad games? Yes. But he is giving his best. He made a mistake and it’s now looking forward.”

Clement’s injury woes have deepened again with the news John Souttar, Dujon Sterling and Tom Lawrence have all joined an 11-deep list of unavailable stars for tonight’s game. But the Ibrox gaffer hopes to have some of them back at Hampden, saying: “I hope next week to recover a few.”