RANGERS midfielder Lewis Macleod has completed his move to SkyBet Championship side Brentford, the Ibrox side have announced.
The 20-year-old flew south to London on Tuesday and after passing a medical has now agreed the Griffin Road switch.
Macleod will hook up with former Rangers captain Davie Weir, the Bees assistant boss.
A £1million fee had been reported to have been agreed between the clubs and, in their statement, the Glasgow giants said: “Rangers Football Club can today confirm Lewis Macleod will sign for Brentford for an undisclosed fee.
“This is subject to International clearance being received when the transfer window opens on 3 January 2015.”
Macleod - who joined the Ibrox club as a 10-year-old and has gone on to win a Third Division and League One winners medal - has agreed a three-and-a-half year deal.
Even if Macleod is given international clearance by the weekend, he will not be eligible for this Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Brighton and Hove Albion.
Brentford boss Mark Warburton said: “I am delighted to have secured such a young talent as Lewis. He has had an outstanding season with Rangers.
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“It is testament to the work of the owner Matthew Benham, Frank McParland and his team, and David Weir that Lewis has joined.
“He is a player who can play in all midfield positions, he has two excellent feet and an eye for goal.
“He will be an excellent addition to the playing squad and I am sure he will play a key role in the second-half of the season.”
Rangers were forced to off-load their best player as their financial woes continue to deepen.
The club need £8.3million before the end of the season - despite recently borrowing £3million from another shareholder, Mike Ashley.
But the Newcastle owner’s plan to use a share issue to increase his shareholding to just under 30 per cent from his current nine per cent stake was rejected by the Scottish Football Association because of his dual interests.
Scotland Under-21 international Macleod’s exit would be a major blow for caretaker manager Kenny McDowall with his side short of creativity and sitting 15 points adrift of Scottish Championship leaders Hearts following a 4-0 defeat to Hibernian on Saturday.
McDowall, though, insists he has enough in reserve to manage without Macleod.
McDowall said: “It’s a blow to lose any of your top players – of course it is – but this is football, this is the world we live in.
“It happens every day at different clubs when players transfer. You can’t dwell on it. You must move forward. You have to readjust and try to get the team back to a winning way, whoever you bring in to fill his shoes. Lewis is a great talent with bundles of potential which, hopefully he’ll fulfil. But I can’t dwell on that side of it. It’s an opportunity for someone to come into the team and go forward from there.
“He can go far – but that’ll be down to Lewis, whether or not he fulfils his potential. He’s got a lot of experience for a young lad now and that’ll stand him in good stead. He could be anything he wants. For me – no disrespect to Brentford – it doesn’t really matter which club he has joined. When a player goes, then he goes. I need to concentrate on Rangers Football Club, what we do and how we move forward.”
Macleod’s departure came on the same day as three investors bought out Laxey Partners’ 16 per cent shareholding in the club.
The Isle of Man investment firm was the largest shareholder in the club but has sold its stake for almost £2.7million.
Press Association Sport understands a consortium made up of Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor were behind the purchase.
However, it could be Friday at the earliest before the sale is confirmed to the Stock Exchange.
The trio - dubbed the “Three Bears” - have also offered the Rangers board £6.5million to underwrite a share issue which the Ibrox club need to launch in order to stay afloat.
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