Charlie McCann has left Rangers to join EFL League One side Forest Green Rovers on a permanent deal for an undisclosed fee.
The 20-year-old attacking midfielder, who moved to Ibrox from Manchester United in the summer 2021, made his first-team debut for the Light Blues under Giovanni van Bronckhorst against Dundee United last season.
A regular starter for the club’s B-team, McCann has struggled to make his senior breakthrough, featuring just three times this season and has now been allowed to leave by new Gers boss Michael Beale. He made eight appearances in total, including as a late substitute in the 2-1 extra-time victory over Aberdeen in the Viaplay Cup semi-final at Hampden Park earlier this month.
Reports in England suggest Forest Green have paid a a fee of £350,000 for the Northern Ireland youth international, who earned his first senior call-up for the Nations League fixtures in June last year.
Beale admitted none of his first-team squad were expected to leave the club in the January window, but it seems various fringe players could now be heading for the exit door.
The deal has a number of clauses including “a significant future sell-on percentage”. A club statement read: “Rangers wish Charlie McCann the very best for the next stage of his career as he departs for Forest Green Rovers for an undisclosed fee.
“The 20 year-old Northern Ireland international joined Gers from Manchester United in the summer of 2021 as an addition to the B Team, and he progressed from there to make eight appearances for the Ibrox first-team.
“In addition to the undisclosed transfer fee, Rangers have retained a significant future sell-on percentage, as well as return options and matching rights on Charlie for the future.”
McCann posted a farewell message on his social media, thanking the club for helping his development. He wrote: “I’d like to say thank you to everyone at @RangersFC for the past 18 months. I have met some amazing people and made some memories that will stay with me forever. I’d like to thank the club for the opportunity they gave me and to the amazing support of the Rangers fans. #watp.”
Forest Green Rovers Head of Performance and Recruitment, Stevie Grieve added: “We are delighted to welcome Charlie to the club. He is an absolutely outstanding talent, who we will work with to develop for the future. He has demonstrated maturity and conviction to make the decision to come here. We can’t wait to work with him.”
McCann’s departure follows reports that Rangers are willing to offload a trio of youngsters, with Kai Kennedy, Josh McPake and Lewis Mayo all attracting interest as Beale continues his squad overhaul.
Kennedy, who has spent the first half of the season on loan at League One side Falkirk, has options in America with USL Championship clubs Memphis 901 and Tampa Bay Rowdies making a formal approach to bring the 23-year-old stateside.
National League sides Gateshead and Yeovil Town are both lining up moves for winger McPake, who is currently on his sixth senior loan spell at Queen’s Park in the Scottish Championship. The 21-year-old has been told he is free to leave on a permanent transfer this month.
Centre-back Mayo joined Kilmarnock on loan in the summer and the Ayrshire side are exploring the option to sign the Scotland youth international permanently, with multiple clubs monitoring the player’s situation. Rangers will listen to offers for Mayo, who has made 26 appearances for the Rugby Park outfit.