THE extent of Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley’s influence on Rangers was set to be underlined last night with five fringe players from the English Premier League club lined up for loan moves to Ibrox.
Defenders Remie Streete and Kevin Mbabu, midfielders Haris Vuckic and Gael Bigirimana and winger Shane Ferguson were being sent north to freshen up the Rangers squad. Beleaguered supporters, though, may be concerned at the manner in which the Newcastle cast-offs appear to have been foisted upon caretaker manager Kenny McDowall.
Northern Ireland international winger Ferguson is the most experienced. The 23-year-old, who can also play at left-back, spent last season on loan to Birmingham City.
Slovenian international midfielder Vuckic arrived at Newcastle in 2009 from Domzale with a reputation as his country’s brightest young talent. The 22-year-old, who made his full debut for Slovenia in the friendly against Scotland in 2012, has played 19 first-team games but has been unable to hold down a regular place in the side.
Burundi-born midfielder Bigirimana has made 26 first-team appearances for Newcastle. The 21-year-old moved to St James Park in 2012 from Coventry for a fee of around £750,000 and is an England youth international.
Swiss defender Mbabu joined Newcastle from Servette in his homeland two years ago. Now 19, he has had injury problems and has yet to make his first-team debut for the Geordies.
English centre-half Streete, 20, has also been unable to break into the first team.
There are no restrictions on the number of players that a club can sign on loan from outwith Scotland.