Rangers FC head coach Michael Beale revealed that ongoing negotiations with FC Bayern over Malik Tillman‘s future are positive, however several factors might still derail a long-term move to Scotland for the USMNT player.
On Saturday, the American made only his first start since late-February, due largely to recent injury issues, but made a splash on his return by scoring both of Rangers’ goals in their 2-0 win over Dundee United.
Head coach Michael Beale spoke about Tillman’s impact following the game, lamenting “I think that was only his fourth start in the last 11 games, and we’ve missed him in those games that he’s not been available for.”
What was perhaps his best performance of the season so far was a continuation of his short return to the field immediately before the international break, where he scored the team’s fourth goal in a substitute role in their win over Motherwell.
The Nürnberg-born USMNT international has been one of the team’s standout players since arriving on loan in the summer from FC Bayern, with a tally of ten goals and four assists in just over 1700 minutes of league play. This has naturally led to constant speculation about whether his loan from the Bavarians would be extended, or if a permanent transfer would be possible.
Beale revealed that the team is deep in negotiations with both Tillman and FC Bayern, and that despite the recent upheaval at the reigning German champions, negotiations are moving in a positive direction.
“There’s an option there that we can take but like in all things, the player has a say in it as well, and so does the club [that is loaning him],” he explained about the overall situation.”
“A lot of things are agreed,” he continued, adding “but there’s obviously been a change of manager there as well. That’s not a part of the negotiations that I’m involved in, but I’m fully up to speed on that.”
The Bavarians just replaced previous Julian Nagelsmann with Thomas Tuchel in the last few days, however considering how an on-loan 20 year-old attacker with only seven first-team appearances so far will fit into his long-term plans is likely low on the new coach’s list of priorities.
Still, Beale indicated that the change of management in Munich has not stalled discussions, which were still active in the last few days.
“There were more talks on that over the international break as well,” he stated, clearly emphasizing, “everything in the moment is positive.”
As to whether Tillman himself wants to elongate his stay in the Scottish Premier League, or use this successful season as a stepping stone to a more competitive league, Beale had no question that he wants to stay.
“I’ve never felt anything different,” he stated in regards to Tillman’s desire to return following his current loan. “He’s really locked into the staff and really invested in the team.”
Unsurprisingly, Beale sees the the relationship between coach and player as a major factor that will tip the scales in Rangers’ direction, and is quick to point out how this connection has helped Tillman develop over the four months since he took the reigns following Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s exit in November.
“Obviously me and Malik have a fantastic relationship,” he boasts, “and I think he really enjoys playing [here]. You only have to see in the way that he’s grown in the time that he’s been here that he’s really enjoying his football.”
Currently, Rangers are second in the Scottish Premiership standings, a daunting nine points behind rivals Celtic with only eight games left to play. They face Celtic, who count Cameron Carter-Vickers as one of their most important starters, on Saturday in the first of two league meetings left between the teams this season, in an enticing clash of Yanks pushing for spots in the upcoming USMNT summer.