The ambition for any transfer window is to come out of it in a stronger position and better place than you entered it. When it comes to the goalkeeper berth at Rangers, that may not be possible for Philippe Clement this summer.

It is the one area of the side that does not need an upgrade. Yet the decisions made and the deals done will resonate in their own right as Clement, in an ideal world but perhaps not in reality, looks to retain the services of Jack Butland and Robby McCrorie. Both of their respective situations have knock-on impacts.

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One exit is on the cards for sure. The Rangers Review understands that McCrorie submitted a transfer request earlier this season in an attempt to leave Ibrox in search of regular first-team football. That door, most likely via a loan departure, was never opened. As a result, his ambitions of earning a place in Steve Clarke’s squad this summer never materialised. The transfer request that was put in during the winter window will not be withdrawn in the summer one.

At that stage of the season, Clement could not risk allowing McCrorie to leave. Right now, he may have little option but to shake his hand and wish him well. The 26-year-old is about to enter the final season of the contract he signed in October 2022 and Clement is in a use him or lose him situation.

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The Rangers Review can reveal that the Ibrox hierarchy have made attempts to convince McCrorie to sign on again, on enhanced terms, and commit his future to his boyhood club over recent weeks. A potential loan move to get the keeper the match minutes he craves could have been on the cards as part of the deal. The route to the No.1 jersey would remain open in that scenario but McCrorie has seen roadblocks put in his way before and needs a clear path for the sake of his career, for both club and country.

“Robby believes he has waited long enough and listened to so many promises from previous managers and coaches and it could be his loyalty to the club has not helped him,” a source close to the negotiations told the Rangers Review.  “Although Rangers are desperate to hold on to him, he says he has to move on now.”

If that plays out, Clement could face the unenviable task of replacing two keepers at the one time. The goalie position is arguably the strongest area of Clement’s squad given Butland’s standards on and off the park and the fact that McCrorie has shown himself to be an able deputy whenever he has been called upon in recent seasons. Given Butland’s value and McCrorie’s contract situation, the Ibrox boss now faces a double dilemma this summer.

Butland was the biggest name that Rangers recruited this time last term. He went on to establish himself as first choice and hit heights that perhaps surpassed lofty expectations. The Englishman assumed the gloves from Allan McGregor and filled the jersey in some style, a series of reaction stops and game-changing moments permeating his first campaign in Glasgow.

Butland lifted the League Cup in December and collected personal accolades in May. Despite his best efforts, he missed out on Premiership and Scottish Cup medals. His international dreams were rekindled but then not realised and he will watch the European Championship from home after being overlooked by Gareth Southgate once again.

The Premier League interest that was expressed – both in terms of words and actions – during the January transfer window seems sure to resurface in the coming weeks. An approach from Nottingham Forest was rebuffed by the Ibrox board and the Butland camp but the arrival of a more lucrative offer would see conversations held and questions asked once again. There will be a figure that is too great for either the club or the keeper to turn down, regardless of how integral Butland is to Clement’s squad or how much he has enjoyed his time north of the border.

Rangers need to make player-trading consistently successful and Butland is one of the highest-value players on their books. It was acknowledged internally when Butland arrived that his spell in Glasgow would likely end with a return to the Premier League if all went to plan.

If Clement only required one or two additions to his group ahead of the new campaign, he would have a stronger hand to play. As it stands, and given the number of acquisitions needed, he may have to cash in on an asset to fund the rebuild. When that point was put to him last month, he was steadfast in his stance that Butland cannot be offloaded to bolster the bottom line.

“That depends,” Clement said. "But you can only sell players if you are 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.

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“But there are also a few players I don’t want to let go for any price. Like Jack Butland? That is a good example, yes. I think that’s a very important thing for this club.”

The solution to the problem is already in the building, but he won't be for long. The answer is not straightforward and the future of McCrorie is interlinked with that of Butland. It is not as simple as selling one and promoting the other and Clement could need to do more than one keeper deal this summer.

Liam Kelly, the former Motherwell captain, is the prime target for one of those slots. At 28, the Auchenhowie graduate will return to Rangers older and wiser but he is not seen as a No.1 keeper. A small financial outlay and the fact he ticks boxes in terms of UEFA squad registrations are attractive for Rangers. In all likelihood, he will replace McCrorie rather than compete with him. If McCrorie was committed for next term, the Kelly deal would not be on the table.

McCrorie has been in this situation before. He believed his time had come when it looked like McGregor would retire on the back of Seville and a Scottish Cup win. Instead, Rangers executed the window poorly in terms of their goalie options. McGregor signed on again, Jon McLaughlin was promoted and then dropped, and McCrorie endured a wasted campaign.

This has been another season in that category. The Scottish Cup win at Dumbarton was the only action that McCrorie was given. Butland certainly did not deserve to be dropped for Premiership or European outings, but the cup competitions were an opportunity squandered. Ultimately, McCrorie knows he must move on.

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The driver for McCrorie is football rather than finance. He will have to take a significant pay cut should he remain in the Premiership and he has potential suitors in Aberdeen, Hibernian, Kilmarnock and Motherwell. It is understood there is interest from England in McCrorie and a six-figure fee with significant add-ons is likely to be enough to finally secure his Ibrox exit.

The numbers involved in any transaction for Butland will be far higher and far more lucrative. Like it was in January, eight figures will be the starting point if Premier League clubs come calling. It will test the resolve of the board and the support, as well as the wheeling and dealing capabilities of Clement and Nils Koppen.

In goalkeeping terms, Rangers could start the new season in a weaker position than they ended the last one. In squad terms, that is not an option for Clement.