Ex-Rangers striker Kris Boyd has argued that a summer of heightened transfer speculation could be at the root of Ryan Kent’s current slump in output.
The 24-year-old has been an integral part of Steven Gerrard’s side in recent years, and hit 13 goals and 15 assists in all competitions as the Gers picked up a historic Scottish Premiership title last term.
This time around, however, he has failed to find his rhythm, and was even subbed off at half-time in Thursday night’s 1-0 Europa League qualification win over Armenian champions FC Alashkert.
In recent weeks, rumours have resurfaced linking the former Liverpool man with a return to the English game, with Leeds United in particular touted as potential suitors.
And Boyd believes that speculation surrounding Kent’s future may be the reason for his recent downturn in form.
Writing in a column for the Scottish Sun, he said: “Ryan Kent has been Rangers’ most important player over the past two seasons.
“You could argue he has been the best player in the country over the same period.
“That is why his dramatic drop-off in form at the start of this campaign has been such a surprise.
“Everybody, particularly Steven Gerrard, is wondering where the real Ryan Kent has gone.
“The Rangers manager hauled him off at half-time against Alashkert on Thursday and has admitted the winger is struggling at the moment.
“The winger is a terrific player and I’ve no doubt he will rediscover his best form.
“This kid is still Gerrard’s top man. He is still the one who will command the biggest transfer fee when he does leave.
“There is no doubt he is worth far more than Alfredo Morelos or Glen Kamara and maybe his value is the cause of his current problems.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if all the transfer speculation this summer is affecting him.”