Gerrard issues 'hands off' warning to Leeds: "Ryan is a player we admire very much here. We went and bought Ryan and showed a lot of faith in him and he's progressing very, very quickly here"
Friday 21 August 2020 11:15, UK
Steven Gerrard has confirmed Rangers have rejected an offer from Leeds United for winger Ryan Kent.
The Rangers boss said Leeds' opening, undisclosed bid is "nowhere near" the club's valuation of the player, and that the club do not want to sell Kent.
However, Gerrard admitted Premier League clubs hold a lot of power in the transfer market and the situation might be taken out of his hands.
Speaking ahead of Rangers' Scottish Premiership fixture against Kilmarnock at Ibrox on Saturday, Gerrard said: "The message for sure is 'hands off'.
"Ryan is a player we admire very much here. He's a player we've seen develop at Liverpool for a long time then brought him here and he did ever so well on loan.
"We went and bought Ryan and showed a lot of faith in him and he's progressing very, very quickly here.
"He's in a good place and a player we want to keep hold of.
"But yes we have had contact from Leeds and an opening bid has been really strongly rejected."
Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa is an admirer of the 23-year-old, who was linked with a move to Elland Road before he joined Rangers on a four-year deal, worth up to £7.5m, in September 2019.
Leeds return to England's top flight for the first time in 16 years next month and Bielsa appears keen to add the Rangers player to his squad ahead of their opening day trip to Kent's former side Liverpool.
"We do not want to lose Ryan. He's a big part of what we're trying to build here. We want him to stay for many, many years"
"They are way, way off with that opening bid. That's the truth and the reality. He's a player who is not for sale," added Gerrard.
"We do not want to lose Ryan. He's a big part of what we're trying to build here. We want him to stay for many, many years.
"But you know that Premier League teams hold a lot of power and that's the reality. We have to accept that.
"But the message to Leeds is the opening bid is nowhere near the valuation and the player doesn't really have one as we don't want to sell."
Kent initially enjoyed a successful loan spell at Ibrox after joining Rangers for the 2018-19 season, which saw him win the PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year award.
Liverpool also included a 20-per-cent sell-on clause in the deal - Sky Sports News reported at the time that that was important as there was a belief at Anfield that Kent would return to the Premier League at some point in the future.
Kent, who scored eight goals in 33 appearances last term as Rangers finished second in the league, has enjoyed an impressive start to the Premiership season, scoring twice in Rangers' opening four fixtures.
Rangers defender Connor Goldson insists Rangers are yet to see the true potential of Kent, but is convinced his team-mate has everything to excel at the highest level.
Asked if Kent should be viewed as a future England international, Goldson said: "I don't know. He has got a lot of ability. [He is] 23-years-old, two-footed. It is not nice when he runs at you, I can tell you that personally from training.
"He has got everything. I think he can still add more numbers to his game. If you look at Ryan from the last two seasons, [from] his goals and the number of assists that he makes, I think he will know that he can do more with his ability.
"But at the same time, he is a massive asset for us. We know there is obviously speculation, but we want to keep Ryan Kent here.
"In this league Ryan has got a lot more to give still. Obviously he is only young but I think if he can match his ability with the numbers then you are talking about a magnificent player."