Rangers star Jermain Defoe was one of three first-team names left out of the 21-man squad list for the Europa League group stage and his omission raises some questions over the veteran signing a permanent deal in the summer.
Defoe joined Jordan Jones and George Edmundson in missing out on European football for the next few months at least as the Gers prepare to face Standard Liege, Lech Poznan and Benfica in Group D.
The veteran spent 18 months on loan at Ibrox before signing a permanent contract with the Light Blues but it could easily be argued that he is fourth-choice striker for Steven Gerrard’s side behind Alfredo Morelos, Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten.
While there may have been some expectation that Morelos would have been sold this summer, that isn’t anything new and the possibility of an Ibrox exit for the Colombian definitely isn’t one that only arose over the summer.
But with Morelos still at Ibrox, and the club having brought in two new strikers, who it can be assumed have been tracked by the club since before Defoe committed to a permanent deal, it leaves Rangers a bit top-heavy.
There have been suggestions from some fans on social media that it could mean a more prominent domestic role for Defoe but with Rangers typically only playing one from Morelos, Itten and Roofe for long periods of games, they shouldn’t really have real concerns over squad depth.
Given his deal at Bournemouth, it would be a surprise if Defoe isn’t among the top earners at Ibrox just now and it seems a bit foolish – especially given current circumstances – to have one of the club’s best-paid players forced to watch the biggest games of the season from the stands.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if Defoe’s Ibrox stint, and maybe his playing career, comes to an end at the start of the season but – admittedly with the benefit of hindsight – it is looking as though making his Rangers contract permanent wasn’t the right move for the club or player.