Moves for Joey Barton and Niko Kranjcar ‘show Rangers intent’

Rangers are in talks with Joey Barton over a potential move. Picture: Getty

Rangers are in talks with Joey Barton over a potential move. Picture: Getty

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Rangers striker Martyn Waghorn believes Joey Barton should be given a clean slate if he decides to move to Ibrox.

Gers have this week been linked with moves for the 33-year-old Burnley midfielder and his former QPR team-mate Niko Kranjcar.

Yeah he’s had trouble in the past and has lots of things to say, but so does everyone, and you’ve just got to get on with it.

Martyn Waghorn

Light Blues boss Mark Warburton is ready to offer the former Manchester City, Newcastle and Marseille battler the long-term security he is looking for, with a three-year deal on the table.

Barton is no stranger to controversy, having twice been convicted by the courts of acts of violence on top of numerous run-ins with the football authorities.

Warburton has already ruled out signing anyone who will threaten the close-knit team spirit he has built at Ibrox, but Waghorn is refusing to judge Barton on his past.

He said: “You don’t know [how Joey will fit in] until he actually comes. You can’t judge somebody from what they have done in the past - you can only see what they are like when they are here in person.

“Joey is a character, he’s known for winding people up and getting under their skin - but that’s only out on the pitch.

“Yeah he’s had trouble in the past and has lots of things to say, but so does everyone, and you’ve just got to get on with it.”

However, ex-Sunderland and Leicester frontman Waghorn believes Gers have made a major statement of intent with their moves for the one-cap England midfielder and Croation international Kranjcar, now at New York Cosmos.

Rangers’ top scorer believes both men could play crucial roles next season if they are persuaded to move to Glasgow, especially if Gers can seal a return to European action by winning Saturday’s William Hill Scottish Cup final with Hibs.

“The quality of these two players is different class,” he said. “They have shown over the years what they can do in the Premiership down south.

“They have a huge amount of experience and for us as a club to be looking at players like that is only a positive.

“Joey Barton is known as a tough-tackling midfielder but if you look at his performances for Burnley this year he can play a bit as well.

“He would be great experience-wise for the middle of the park. It would be great competition for guys like Andy Halliday, Jason Holt, Dean Shiels and Nicky Law, who have all done great this year.

“It shows we’re going in the right direction if we can attract players like that.

“If we get into the Europe League, competition will be key. You need to have a squad that is competitive from number one to 20.

“We’ve been linked with Barton and Kranjcar but the signing of the young boy Jordan Rossiter is another key one. I’ve spoken to a few people down at Liverpool and they speak highly of him.

“So out intentions are good. The higher the calibre of player we have, the more it will bring out the best in the guys here, so the more the merrier.”

Waghorn missed 11 weeks of the campaign with a knee injury but after returning to peak fitness just in time to face Hibs, the Englishman admitted excitement is already kicking in.

“Every player involved in a cup final will dream of scoring a last-minute goal,” he said. “I’ve done that and the last couple of days I’ve been like a big kid getting excited for the game and dreaming about picking up the trophy.

“But I know that’s going to be a tough ask. Hibs will have a point to prove after the disappointment of missing out on promotion.

“If we play our game we should be okay but it’s a cup final and anything can happen.”

READ MORE - Rumour Mill: Celtic eye Emerson Hyndman | Joey Barton latest | Arsenal plan £10m Tierney bid

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