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John Hartson's agent Johnathan Barnett
talks to BBC Five Live's Ian Payne
 real 14k

Thursday, 31 August, 2000, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Hartson move collapses
John Hartson has failed a medical at Rangers
John Hartson has failed a medical at Rangers
John Hartson's dream move to Scottish champions Rangers collapsed today after the Wimbledon striker failed a medical.

The former Luton, Arsenal and West Ham hitman had agreed terms yesterday with chairman David Murray after just 10 minutes and hoped to complete a deal in the region of 5.5m early this morning.

But Hartson, who failed a medical at Tottenham in March, flew to Cardiff to meet up with the Welsh national party this morning heartbroken after failing to satisfy club doctors of his fitness.

A Rangers statement said Hartson had "not played a sufficient number of top class matches recently.

Both Rangers FC and the player are very disappointed at the outcome of this matter
  Rangers FC statement
"He would not be at the level of match fitness required at this particular stage of the season.

"Both Rangers FC and the player are very disappointed at the outcome of this matter. The player will therefore return to Wimbledon FC to continue his career.

"The player will therefore return to Wimbledon FC to continue his career."


Hartson's agent Jonathan Barnett said: "He's really disappointed that this has happened, but John will pick himself up again."

Advocaat has been looking for a target man for several months and thought he had found the answer in Hartson.

He has Dutch striker Michael Mols on the way back from a career-threatening knee ligament injury sustained last November, but still some games from full match fitness.

Advocaat still has capable strikers such as Billy Dodds, Rod Wallace and Kenny Miller at his disposal, but the collapse of the Hartson deal is a huge disappointment for the Ibrox manager, who rated him very highly.

Target man

He said yesterday: "Everybody knows that when fit that he is a real target man and he likes to work in and around the box.

"He's very physical, has a good shot, is good in the air and works very hard and he is needed in this squad as well."

After failing the Rangers medical, it is doubtful whether Wales' most expensive player will feature in national manager Mark Hughes' starting line-up on Saturday.

Hughes told BBC Wales: "If it doesn't go well for him I don't think he'd be in the right frame of mind to come out and be part of the set up for this game."

Rangers were known to be keen on strengthening their squad before the deadline for the Champions League - and were looking to sign Hartson after landing the services of Dutch international Ronald de Boer.

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28 Aug 00 |  Rangers
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