Steven Gerrard insists he has not given up hope of bringing Ryan Kent back to Rangers next season but admits he will be priced out of a permanent deal if Liverpool decide to sell the winger.
Kent’s season-long loan from Anfield is due to expire in May but Gerrard has vowed to do everything he can to bring the 22-year-old back for a second year in Govan.
Reports have suggested that Liverpool may look to cash in on Kent’s impressive form at Ibrox by selling this summer and Gerrard concedes Rangers could not afford to meet a price tag upwards of £8million.
Rangers duo Steven Gerrard (centre) and Ryan Kent (right) pictured training earlier this month
However, he hopes that Jurgen Klopp will see value in sending the player back for another campaign north of the border.
Kent is suspended for Sunday’s Ladbrokes Premiership clash at Motherwell after being hit with a retrospective two-match ban for lashing out at Scott Brown in last weekend’s defeat to Celtic.
Although he will also miss Rangers first post-split fixture away to Hearts in a fortnight, he remains a big part of the manager’s thinking for next season.
‘I won’t give hope of keeping Ryan until I see him in a different kit,’ said Gerrard. ‘If you speak to Ryan he will tell you that he’s happy, that he’s enjoying his football, the fans are really enjoying him.
‘There are a lot of boxes ticked with him being at Rangers. Liverpool know that, Ryan and his people know that, and we certainly understand that.
‘All we can do is make sure we’re at the table – and we will be at the table. I think it would be unlikely to be a permanent move. I would be more confident about getting him back on a loan.
‘If Liverpool wanted to sell him, that’s out of my hands. The figure being spoken about… I’m out.’ Gerrard is willing to hold his nerve until late in the summer transfer window if necessary.
Gerrard is keen to keep on-loan Liverpool winger Kent at Ibrox beyond the end of the season
He continued: ‘We might have to be patient and see what Jurgen Klopp does with Ryan, whether he extends his stay at Liverpool.
‘We have to make sure we have an offer for Ryan. Our supporters need to know I’m doing all I can to make sure Ryan is here next year because he is one player I want to build the team around.
‘Ryan has intimated to me that he’s enjoyed every minute of being here. He knows that I want him here. His team-mates want him here.’ The rash moment in which Kent lashed out at Brown last weekend represented a stupid loss of discipline but Gerrard defends the player’s character.
If the club’s appeal against the two-match ban was always likely to fail, there was probably some psychology in lodging the petition. Gerrard wants Kent to know that he has his back.
‘From where Ryan was when he walked through the door to where he is now, he’s in a much better place,’ continued the manager. ‘He’s come out of his shell.
‘If you look at him from afar, he can be misunderstood. People think he’s got this confidence and swagger…