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Page last updated at 21:23 GMT, Friday, 20 August 2010 22:23 UK

Rangers sign Rapid Vienna's Nikica Jelavic for 4m

Nikica Jelavic tries a Rangers shirt on for size
Jelavic's signing saga came to a conclusion on Friday evening

Rangers have completed the capture of striker Nikica Jelavic from Rapid Vienna for £4m and expect it to be their last piece of summer business.

The 24-year-old was in Glasgow for a medical on Friday after agreeing personal terms on a four-year contact.

Pending a work permit, it is Rangers' biggest signing in eight years.

And Rangers boss Walter Smith earlier admitted: "We could be doing with a few more, but I would think, financially, that would be us finished."

The arrival of Jelavic - Rangers' most expensive purchase since the signing of Mikel Arteta from Barcelona in 2002 - follows the capture of fellow striker James Beattie from Stoke City and winger Vladimir Weiss on loan from Manchester City.

Smith defends big money signings

"We've managed to bring in three players for the first time in a couple of seasons and we are delighted with that aspect," said Smith.

"We can't stretch it any further than we have done at the present moment."

That is likely to be bad news for trialists Georgie Welcome, the Honduras international striker, young Arsenal forward Nacer Barazite and his fellow Dutchman, Etienne Esajas, the winger formerly of Sheffield Wednesday.

Jelavic - who scored 21 goals last season, including three against Celtic in the Europa League - is viewed as a replacement for Kris Boyd, who left Ibrox for Middlesbrough under freedom of contract.

Smith also lost Nacho Novo, who moved to Sporting Gijon before the start of the season, and obviously viewed the striking positions as his priority.

Rangers fear that Jelavic, who has already played for Rapid in European competition this season, will be ineligible to play for the Glasgow club in the Champions League if his former employers progress to the group stages of the Europa League.

However, a Uefa source has told BBC Scotland that the Croatia striker will not be cup-tied, no matter which side prevails after next week's second leg at Villa Park.

Indeed, Jelavic's move was only re-ignited after the striker was left out of Rapid's squad for the 1-1 draw after refusing to play in Thursday's first leg in Vienna.

Lengthy negotiations with Rangers had broken down last week after the Austrian club rejected a bid.

However, the 24-year-old's decision to leave Rapid's training ground ahead of Thursday's match saw the Austrians reluctantly relaxing their stance.


Rapid president Rudolf Edlinger indicated that Jelavic, who joined Rapid from Zulte Waregem in 2008, had been suspended by the club for his refusal to train.

"Contrary to all expectations, Nikica Jelavic said that he did not want to play for SK Rapid," he told the club's website.

"It is a shock to the entire Rapid family. Rapid is a club with heart and emotion.

"But, if someone on his own at such short notice, says he does not want to play, then he can go because he lets down not only the team but also the whole club.

"I think that our fans will understand the decision."

Jelavic finally got the move he wanted and, in a day of double joy for the player, he was named in Croatia coach Slaven Bilic's 23-man squad for the Euro 2012 Group F qualifiers against Latvia in Riga on 3 September and Greece in Zagreb four days later.

However, he will not be able to play against Hibernian at Easter Road on Sunday, with Rangers hoping that he will have clearance in time to face St Johnstone at Ibrox on 28 August.

Failing that, he is likely to make his debut after the international break - against Hamilton Academical at New Douglas Park on 11 September.

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see also
Rangers' ambition impresses Weiss
20 Aug 10 |  Rangers
Weiss joins Rangers from Man City
19 Aug 10 |  Rangers
Rapid delay Jelavic Gers decision
04 Aug 10 |  Rangers
Rangers roll out mat for Welcome
01 Aug 10 |  Rangers
Rangers target South African pair
27 Jul 10 |  Rangers

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