Trouble appears to be brewing at Rangers following Ianis Hagi’s latest strong comments about the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
Romania’s fixtures at the Games are set to clash with the Gers’ all-important Champions League qualifiers and it’s been reported that the club intends to block Hagi from heading to Japan [Glasgow Live].
As the Olympics fall outside of the traditional international schedule, clubs are under no obligation to release their players for duty, with Slavia Prague, Cagliari and Inter Milan all also expected to block their Romanian players from participating.
Hagi has already stated that he wants to go, though, and he has now entrenched his stance further with strong comments.
“I want to play at a tournament like the Olympics,” said Hagi [Glasgow Live]. “It’s something unique. I probably won’t get a chance like this any other time in your career.”
“It’s clear I want to go. Unfortunately, we, the players, are in a situation where it does not depend on ourselves.
“Personally, I have made it very clear to the club I want to play at the Olympics, but I don’t yet have a clear answer from Rangers.”
Rangers are in a difficult position, not least because other important players Glen Kamara and Kemar Roofe will definitely miss the qualifiers due to suspension.
There is some recognition from Hagi that the call isn’t his to make, but he’s made his feelings abundantly clear and it seems unlikely that the news will be well received if he’s prevented from appearing at the Olympics.
The 22-year-old is under contract until 2024 and has regularly spoken about how content he is at Ibrox.
However, there’s potential for this situation to turn into a saga and the in-demand player could seek a transfer if his wishes aren’t granted.
Lazio have been linked with a £9m swoop this summer [Gazzetta dello Sport], while other big European clubs such as Sevilla and RB Leipzig have also been credited with interest [Daily Record].
Here’s how ex-Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic responded when asked how he’d feel about Hagi joining him in Seville.