Rangers have agreed a deal with Chelsea regarding the possible summer signing of Billy Gilmour, although have not yet given up hope of convincing the highly-rated teenage midfielder that his long-term future lies at Ibrox.
Gilmour is touted alongside the likes of Celtic's Karamoko Dembele as being among the hottest young footballing prospects currently plying their trade north of the border after highlighting his significant potential with a series of impressive performances for Rangers' youth teams and the Scotland U16s.
Already handed a squad number and invited to train with the first team, the temporary promotion of his development squad head coach to the role of caretaker manager following last month's controversial departure of Mark Warburton nearly led to the prodigy being handed a place in the senior matchday squad for the first time.
Graeme Murty, who has now reverted back to his previous role following the appointment of Pedro Caixinha, admitted that he was "really, really close" to playing some part in a 6-0 Scottish Cup quarter-final thrashing of Hamilton Academical.
Such a swift rise has certainly not gone unnoticed by a flurry of scouts from across the continent, although Chelsea were considered to be the overwhelming favourites to secure his signature.
Goal reported earlier this week that the Premier League leaders had seen off competition from Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Barcelona, with Gilmour, said to have been convinced of his next move during a trip to the Blues' Cobham training base, expected to complete a summer switch to Stamford Bride for a fee believed to be worth approximately £500,000.
Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson admits that an agreement has been reached if indeed Gilmour does decide to swap Glasgow for West London, with such a move ensuring that the club adequately protect themselves from a financial standpoint and receive more than a paltry compensation sum. The 15-year-old is currently tied to Rangers until his 16th birthday on 11 June, after which time he is free to sign a first professional contract.
"We have got a position agreed if he was to go," Robertson was quoted as saying by The Mail when pushed on Chelsea's interest. "I won't tell you the number but there is a position agreed. It would be negligent of us not to have done that in terms of the governance of the club, but we'd rather not get the money and Billy stayed and went on to have a great career at Rangers. We need to protect our position and do the sensible thing because if he goes in the summer without a deal being agreed then he leaves only for a compensation amount.
"That would be a helluva lot less than if we had a fee agreed beforehand. We have protected our position on that side of things but we'd like Billy Gilmour to stay at the club. Everybody on the football side thinks he's a fantastic talent and he's still only 15. It would be great to see a boy like that develop and stay here to get a lot of game-time and go further."
Robertson went on to state that he believes Rangers have a "reasonable chance" of retaining Gilmour, stating that the 54-time champions had done all they can. Scottish Football Assocation (SFA) performance director Malky Mackay previously expressed fears regarding limited opportunities in an academy with "20 other international-class teenagers", while Caixinha is even said to have held last-ditch talks in a bid to convince the player that he does feature heavily in his plans moving forward.
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