Andrey Lunev has been officially released by Bundesliga giants Bayer Leverkusen as Rangers look to bring a new goalkeeper to Ibrox during the summer transfer window.
In a week in which the departures of Alfredo Morelos, Ryan Kent, Scott Arfield and Filip Helander were all confirmed, Bayer Leverkusen also bid farewell to a handful of first-team players.
Long-serving winger Karim Bellarabi is bringing an end to over a decade at the Bay Arena. Former Ajax utility man Daley Sinkgraven will follow him out the door. Andrey Lunev is the name that may be of interest to Rangers, however, with Mick Beale expected to make a new shot-stopper one of his leading targets ahead of a transitional summer on the blue side of Glasgow.
41-year-old shot-stopper Allan McGregor is another who is now confirmed to be heading for the exit at Ibrox. It is far from certain that fellow veteran Jon McLaughlin will be sticking around either.
And despite Robby McCrorie’s impressive run of form in recent weeks – Ibrox captain Barry Ferguson believing that the 25-year-old can save Beale ‘a huge amount’ of money during the upcoming summer window – Rangers continue to scour the market for outside hires.
Rangers need a new goalkeeper
Manchester United’s Jack Butland is one – albeit expensive – option. Fortuna Sittard’s Ivor Pandur may be a more affordable alternative. And then there’s Lunev; a 31-year-old Russia international on the lookout for a fresh start after a season ruined by injury at Leverkusen.
“(Lunev) leaving Bayer was expected,” agent Anton Smirnov tells Sport24 of his now-free-agent client. “At the moment, the main issue remains the state of his fitness.”
Smirnov believes that talks with any potential suitors will be placed on the backburner for the time being. At least, until he returns from a back injury which has dogged Lunev since the turn of the year.
“It happens in football. Andrei was tortured by injuries, but now there is a positive trend,” the agent adds. “Accordingly, until his injury issues are resolved, it will be problematic to conduct substantive negotiations with someone.
“Therefore, the immediate plans are to fully recover, and then look for a new club.”
Smirnov was quizzed about reports linking Lunev with a move to Rangers all the way back in October. And while he did not ‘confirm’ Rangers’ interest, nor did he deny it.
Then again, it remains to be seen if Beale and co would be willing to take a punt on a soon-to-be-32-year-old who featured in only one Bundesliga game throughout 2022/23.