Rangers boss Michael Beale has been clear that the club are undergoing a squad transition, with four fresh faces already at the centre of this evolution.

The Gers recruitment team have been criticised for failing to breathe fresh life into the squad which won 55, with that team at the end of a four-year cycle and plenty believing this is what cost the club last season’s title.

Rangers FC v St. Johnstone FC - Cinch Scottish Premiership
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Even this summer, with plenty of Rangers fans expecting much more movement in this regard, several players were handed contract extensions and the same old faces still toiling and plenty still on the sidelines with injuries.

As Celtic open up a nine point Scottish Premiership lead, it’s clear now is the time to evolve the team in order to close the gap as sleeping on the squad costs the club their brief dominance in the country.

Michael Beale has been talking about trimming his squad in the summer with several players out of contract and patience quickly running out for those players whose Rangers careers have been somewhat defined by injury.

Aging players are also expected to be moved on and it is safe to assume that this time next year the Rangers squad will look considerably different.

And at the crux of that, and in timing with Rangers’ aims to breathe life into the side, we can consider four young Ibrox stars who have been signed to make an Ibrox impression over the next few years.

Rangers quartet at centre of Michael Beale evolution

January signings Todd Cantwell (£1.5m – Norwich City) and Nicolas Raskin (£1.75m – Standard) have made an early impression and will look to establish themselves as first-team stars in the coming weeks and months.

Bayern Munich loanee Malik Tillman – who will cost a reported £5m to sign permanently in the summer – has also emerged as a vital player for Rangers and there’s not a soul at Ibrox who doesn’t want the deal concluded.

Then there is one player in Ridvan Yilmaz – signed in a £3.6m rising to £5m deal – who hasn’t been able to make a proper impression due to injury but who, given the outlay, will be expected to make left-back his own.

These are four highly-rated young players who will begin to evolve the identity of Rangers and who the club’s fans can get excited about as their team look to finally move on from the image of that Steven Gerrard-led era.

Couple this with major doubts around the goalkeeping position, where there will likely be a new option next season, and in attack, where Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos remain the subject of much contract conjecture, and the upcoming window looks to be a vital one for Rangers.

But already the Rangers squad is beginning to look like one in transition and it feels like the beginning of a new era under Michael Beale as the club look to haul themselves back to the top of Scottish football.

If Alfie is to head off too, could Josh Maja be the striker to replace him?

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