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 Saturday, 23 November, 2002, 20:02 GMT
Thompson set for Rangers
Steven Thompson (right)
Steven Thompson is out of contract next summer
Rangers are poised to sign Dundee United and Scotland striker Steven Thompson in January, BBC Scotland believes.

The news comes as Rangers manager Alex McLeish admitted that the Glasgow club had given United permission to talk to out-of-favour Ibrox striker Billy Dodds.

McLeish refused to comment on the possibility of Thompson moving to Rangers as part of a swap deal.

Sources close to Rangers suggest that the transfer of the 24-year-old is closer to completion than a deal for Dodds.

We have given Dundee United permission to speak to him

Rangers boss Alex McLeish
Thompson's transfer could therefore go ahead even if Dodds decides against a return to the club that sold him to Rangers three years ago for 1.3m.

The younger man is out of contract with United in the summer and it is appearing increasingly likely that they are set to lose the striker just as he is becoming a fixture in the Scotland set-up.

New United chairman Eddie Thompson had made the resigning of his namesake his priority.

But he is likely to prefer to accept a transfer fee during the January transfer window rather than risk losing the player for nothing at the end of the season.

As disclosed by BBC Scotland on Friday, negotiations with Dodds, the United chairman's main transfer target, have already begun.

That was confirmed by McLeish following Rangers' 3-0 defeat of Dunfermline Athletic on Saturday.

"We have given Dundee United permission to speak to him, but no decision has been made when he will leave the club," he said.

Billy Dodds in rare action for Rangers
Dodds has made rare starts for Rangers
"His contract is up at the end of the season.

"Doddsy will want things to be right from his point of view and we respect that, but everything has to be right for Rangers first.

"I don't want to patronise Doddsy, but his work rate at the club has been typical of Billy Dodds - it's just very difficult to get him into the side.

"I'm probably not his favourite person at the moment, but it is difficult to change a team that is winning and I can't keep everyone happy."

Dodds came off the bench for the final two minutes at Ibrox, a rare appearance for the former Scotland striker.

See also:

23 Nov 02 | Scot Prem
12 Nov 02 | Dundee Utd
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