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Page last updated at 11:15 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 12:15 UK

Gers fans wait for transfer raids

By Thomas McGuigan

Rangers manager Walter Smith
Rangers manager Walter Smith has yet to add to his squad

Rangers supporters weren't difficult to spot in the aftermath of last season's thrilling SPL climax.

Sporting smiles as wide as the River Clyde, fans celebrated ending Celtic's three-year title reign and securing their place in the group stages of the Champions League.

But May's euphoric celebrations must seem like a lifetime ago.

With little over a month to go until the start of the season, Rangers have yet to sign a player.

And with an estimated £10m windfall from Champions League participation, Rangers fans and manager Walter Smith know the clock is ticking.

Misty-eyed fans can recall how previous transfer raids secured the likes of Ronald de Boer, Paul Gascoigne, Brian Laudrup and more recently Carlos Cuellar and Steve Davis.

But the only transfer activity at Ibrox in this close season has been through the exit door.

Of the squad that managed to wrest the title from Celtic's grasp, utility man Christian Dailly has been freed, along with midfielder Brahim Hemdani.

Charlie Adam is on the brink of a permanent move to England and third-choice goalkeeper Graeme Smith has gone to St Johnstone.

So when will Rangers make a signing that will enable journalists to blow the dust off of their keyboards and report on some fresh blood?

In transfer fees there may be nothing at all for Rangers to spend in this transfer window

BBC Scotland pundit Craig Paterson

Former Rangers defender Craig Paterson believes the club must balance player recruitment with reducing its £25m overdraft.

"During the last transfer window at Christmas, fans were amazed to find that Rangers all of a sudden had become a selling club," said the BBC Scotland pundit.

"They were looking to move on one of their bigger names in order to pay the bank. The credit crunch has hit, even at the very top level.

"The fact they won the championship and qualified for the Champions League - and the money that's involved there - it looks like it will enable the club to keep the players they have.

"Walter Smith may have wages to play with since a few players have moved on but in actual transfer fees there may be nothing at all for Rangers to spend."

Paterson said that, in a healthier financial climate, Rangers would have been busy in the transfer market with some quality signings in light of the Champions League money heading into the Ibrox coffers.

Rangers defender David Weir
Rangers defender David Weir is hoping for a few more victories in the sun

"That kind of money usually means they can bring in one or two players who can add something in terms of quality," he said.

"Unfortunately, that's not going to be the case. They were talking about selling Kris Boyd or Barry Ferguson six months ago.

"I just don't think there's going to be the millions required available to buy the type of players that Walter would be wanting.

"The collapse of the Setanta deal was a nail in the coffin for any team thinking 'we can afford to spend that' and, all of a sudden, you need to put that on hold.

"If you can't get the type of player who will add something special to the squad then I don't think they'll spend the money. And it may be the case of the manager going with what he has."

Last season, the veteran David Weir was a rock at the heart of the Rangers defence alongside Madjid Bougherra.

Rangers could face a selection headache, however, if either of the two suffers injury. Christian Dailly, Steven Whittaker and Lee McCulloch all deputised with varying degrees of success.

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"Ideally, Walter would like somebody at the back, someone in the middle and another player up front. David Weir has been an outstanding performer, but every year we're asking 'can he do it again'?

"Bougherra might be missing for up to a month because of the African Cup of Nations, so you need someone to step in there and that's not an easy job.

"Danny Wilson is a young lad they have high hopes for. Like a lot of Scottish clubs, Rangers will be hoping they can promote from within if necessary."

And Paterson said Smith has been searching for a skilful wide player since returning to Ibrox for his second spell in charge.

"But he either can't get that kind of player with the money he has available or the type he wants just aren't in the market just now," he added.

"Rangers proved last season they had enough quality and bottle to get the job done and that should boost their confidence.

"One or two additions would make a difference, but, if Walter has to go with what he has, they showed me enough to suggest they can win the title again."



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see also
Saints sign Gers goalkeeper Smith
10 Jul 09 |  St Johnstone
SPL takes time over TV contract
07 Jul 09 |  Scottish Premier
Weir not pondering his retirement
04 Jul 09 |  Rangers
Rangers to open against Falkirk
17 Jun 09 |  Scottish Premier


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