Mark Warburton: Rangers will avoid deadline day scramble

Mark Warburton says he is still trying to adapt to the Scottish market. Picture: SNS

Mark Warburton says he is still trying to adapt to the Scottish market. Picture: SNS

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Rangers manager Mark Warburton has insisted the club will not be pressured into exceeding their own valuations of transfer targets this month.

The Ibrox side have seen bids rejected for both St Johnstone striker Michael O’Halloran and Brentford midfielder Toumani Diagouraga.

It’s like buying a house, if you’re not comfortable with the figure you are going to pay then don’t pay it

Mark Warburton

The Championship leaders are believed to have offered considerably less than the fees of around £400,000 at which both players are priced by their current clubs. O’Halloran, 25, shone against Rangers at Ibrox earlier this season in St Johnstone’s 3-1 League Cup victory over Warburton’s side. French holding midfield man Diagouraga, 28, worked under Warburton at Brentford.

Both players are understood to be keen to join Rangers but have 18 months remaining on their current contracts, leaving both St Johnstone and Brentford with the whip hand in transfer negotiations.

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Warburton declined to discuss individual targets but stressed he is comfortable with the manner in which Rangers are conducting their business. He is determined not to become involved in any last-minute deals this month and is not fearful of losing out on prime targets, as was the case in the summer window when Hibs sold Scott Allan to Celtic after rejecting a series of bids from Rangers.

“We are getting close with a couple of targets so fingers crossed we’ll get them done,” said Warburton. “We have to make sure it suits all parties but we are making progress.

“I’m not worried. The club will go about its business and hopefully do it in the right way. At the end of the day we want players who want to be here.

“I don’t think [the prices are increased because it’s Rangers], it’s more just because it’s January. Teams who are doing well don’t want to lose their best players, while teams that are struggling don’t want to lose their best players either.

“That won’t change, it’s the same north or south of the Border. January’s more difficult than the summer window. You just hope you can get the right pieces to fit at the right time. But if it doesn’t represent value on and off the pitch then why enter into it? It’s like buying a house and knowing you’ve paid too much money for it. If you are not comfortable, then don’t do it.

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“There’s a big difference between being comfortable and being brave. But if it doesn’t represent value or the player doesn’t want to be here, then we won’t pursue it.

“We know what the market is and what we have to pay for a player. I sit with David Weir, Frank McParland and everyone who is part of it and we decide what is good value. We might say ‘X’ but someone else might say ‘Y’. We base it on what we think is the value and how it will benefit the club.

“I don’t think it will go to deadline day. We like to do our business early, it was the same when we were at Brentford as well. We showed that in the summer here. It was a case of get it done early, get the permanent ones done and then maybe look at the loan market. Last minute causes poor decision making.

“Is there value in Scotland? Absolutely. It’s about making sure the valuation meets ours and it is making sure we can get the players when we want them.”

Warburton is also continuing his efforts to extend the contracts of some of his existing squad members. After midfielders Andy Halliday and Jason Holt signed new deals this week which run until 2020, the Rangers boss expects winger Barrie McKay to follow suit.

“We’re very close with Barry,” said Warburton. “We just need to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Getting Andy and Jason tied down was really pleasing, I am delighted. It’s about rewarding players who have done well.

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“There was no sympathy vote with the deals. They have earned those contracts. Everyone will now be geared to their next contracts.

“We as a club need to have that flexibility in place that we can respond to players doing well. I think those two have shown already they have quality but there is loads more to come.

“Andy’s been asked to play out of position and he’s done exceptionally well. Jason has just got better and better.

“He isn’t 23 until next month. He’s scored nine goals from midfield, he has a fantastic engine with great quality, pitch geography and movement.

“So there is definitely value in the market up here and I’m amazed at the negativity I hear about the quality of players in Scotland.

“There are very good players up here. It’s about challenging them and getting the best out of them by giving them opportunities.”

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