RANGERS interim chief executive Craig Mather is looking to remove two more players from the club’s wage bill as he seeks to “balance the books” at Ibrox.
• Ally McCoist has been told that more players may need to leave before new recruits can arrive at Ibrox
• Carlos Bocanegra, Dorin Goian, Neil Alexander and Kane Hemmings have all left the club, with the potential for more to follow
• Interim chief executive Craig Mather: “More of the squad could be moving on. I’m not going to sit here and hide it.”
As they prepare for the new season and the lifting of their player registration embargo on 1 September, the Third Division champions have recruited seven new players this summer.
Rangers manager Ally McCoist has made it clear he wants to make further additions to his squad, with a central defender one of his priorities. Free agents Christophe Berra and Bosnian international Boris Pandza have been targeted for that position by McCoist.
But Mather, while keen to accommodate McCoist’s wishes, says more players may have to be off-loaded in order to facilitate any new signings.
“More of the squad could be moving on,” said Mather. “There is potential for that, I’m not going to sit here and hide it. Ally has made no secret of the fact he’d like to make one or two more signings if possible and in principle I have no problem with that. We do have to balance the books, though, and look at it accordingly. It would be good for the stability of the club if we can get a couple more moved on as well.”
Rangers have already terminated the contracts of experienced central defensive duo Carlos Bocanegra and Dorin Goian, who spent last season on loan at Racing Santander and Spezia respectively. Goalkeeper Neil Alexander has left the club after turning down a new contract offer, while striker Kane Hemmings was released on the expiry of his contract last month.
McCoist has already held talks with Berra, 27, who is a free agent after being released by Wolves. And he believes the Scotland international fits the bill perfectly as he steps up his efforts to recruit a centre-half for Rangers’ assault on the Second Division.
McCoist told the club’s website: “Without doubt, Christophe is someone I’m looking at.
“He’s a player I would think ticks the vast majority of the boxes. He’s a great age, a good player and he has vast experience. I know he has one or two options which I totally understand and the financial aspect will certainly come into it. I appreciate that because he has a young family. Christophe is someone we’d be keen to discuss terms with though and if we could get him in that would be great. We’ve been lucky enough to strengthen in other areas but centre back is a key position for us and it’s important we strengthen there too.
“I’ve spoken to Christophe and to his agent. There’s still an awful lot of work to be done if there’s going to be a deal but the signs are we could possibly do something there.”
Former striker Nacho Novo – who has expressed a desire to return to Ibrox – has been training at Murray Park but McCoist played down the Spaniard’s chances of being offered a deal.
McCoist has made seven signings so far, with Honduran midfielder Arnold Peralta set to arrive in Scotland next midweek after a holiday.
Rangers begin pre-season this weekend with a friendly against Highland League side Brora Rangers, managed by former Ibrox player David Kirkwood,
at Dudgeon Park on Sunday. They then face Third Division side Elgin City at Borough Briggs next Wednesday, followed by a trip to face Bristol City at Ashton Gate on 13 July. McCoist’s squad will then travel to Germany for games against Gutersloh and Emmen and complete their preparations against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on 24 July.