Mark Warburton has hinted Darren McGregor may not be the last player to leave Ibrox before next week’s transfer deadline.
The former St Mirren defender made a surprise exit from the club yesterday – just three months after being named Rangers’ player of the season. The 30-year-old made 50 appearances, scoring five goals – but has not featured at all this season.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s League Cup tie at Airdrieonians and before McGregor’s departure was announced, Warburton confirmed he would consider trimming his squad even further.
He said: “One or two could be on their way out possibly, because players have to play. The important thing is balance, players in, players out. Making sure players have the opportunity to develop and continue their careers.
“So maybe one or two could leave. Possibly as loans but also permanent moves.”
McGregor made his move to Ibrox from St Mirren last summer and while the rest of his team-mates struggled, he won plaudits for his committed displays. But McGregor has fallen behind Danny Wilson, Rob Kiernan and Dominic Ball and leaves by mutual consent.
While McGregor becomes the 13th player to have left the club since last season’s failed promotion bid, Warburton says he is “nearly there” as he looks to complete his rebuilding job.
But he also insisted chairman Dave King would not be afraid to splash the cash if he identified a pricey target.
King claimed earlier this summer that he would spend “whatever it took” to ensure Rangers would climb back up to the Ladbrokes Premiership but so far his outlay has been modest.
Ten players have checked in since Warburton’s arrival but only four of those have required a fee, with a tally of just under £700,000 spent landing Kiernan, James Tavernier and Martyn Waghorn from Wigan, plus former Hearts midfielder Jason Holt.
Warburton missed out on capturing Scott Allan when the boyhood Rangers fan joined Celtic after Hibernian knocked back three bids from Ibrox.
The former Brentford manager’s three most recent signings – Nathan Oduwa, Dominic Ball and Gedion Zelalem – have all arrived on loan.
But Warburton said: “The backing from the board and the owners have been first class.
“There is no doubt that we will move for the right player if he comes available at the right price – as we’ve already done.
“The backing could not be any better. But right now the loan market is the important one because it forms links with key Premier League clubs and highlights to them how we look after players.
“Hopefully if we show them how good we are, going forward we’ll have greater access to players. My job is to find players who I think are relevant. Whether it’s a million pounds or £10 million, it’s irrelevant.
“If we find a player who we think represents value, then we will do it. It’s not about the size of the budget. It’s how you utilise your budget.”
Zelalem has arrived from Arsenal but Warburton has warned the American Under-20s cap will have to prove he is worth a place in a side which has started the campaign with six straight wins.
“He is a very talented ball player,” said the Englishman. “He’s exciting on the ball, takes good care of it and makes good decisions. There’s no doubt in my mind he will play at the highest level of the game.
“He will impact our team, no doubt. However, I’ve read in a few places that he is guaranteed a place but it doesn’t work that way. He has to earn his shirt.”