Honduran international midfielder Arnold Peralta has agreed a four-year deal with Rangers, subject to receiving a work permit.
A transfer embargo means the 24-year-old will be registered on 1 September, but he will join the rest of Ally McCoist’s squad for pre-season.
Peralta told the club’s website: “I am delighted to be joining a club with the size and history of Rangers. I had several offers from Europe, MLS and at home in Honduras but when I was told I could sign for Rangers it was an easy decision.
“I am really looking forward to pulling on that famous blue shirt and getting out on the Ibrox pitch. Hopefully the club and fans will appreciate what I can bring to the team.”
McCoist added: “We are delighted Arnold has agreed to join us. We went over
and watched him playing for Honduras against Panama and he performed well. He will
certainly give us a bit of bite in the middle of the park. He actually played at right-back when we saw him, but his best role is sitting in midfield.
“Arnold is very aggressive and he gets about the park well, so I think he would blend in with the rest of the midfield and he will be a good signing. It’s great we are signing a Honduran international who is of a good pedigree and playing in World Cup qualifiers.”
The arrival of Peralta adds to an air of positivity at Ibrox, boosted last week by the announcement that former manager Walter Smith has become chairman. As is the case with everyone at Rangers, coach Ian Durrant is delighted that Smith has taken on the new role. He has been left with a dilemma, however. Just what do you call the former manager now that he is chairman of the board? “With everything the gaffer has done for the club in football, it will be great,” said Durrant. “It’s just funny having to call him chairman! He will always be the
gaffer – but I’ll need to go and see him and sort out how to
McCoist has expressed the hope that Smith’s arrival will bring stability, and Durrant echoed that thought. He said: “With the presence that the gaffer brings to the club, and with everybody crying out for a bit of stability, hopefully the boardroom and the club can get stability now and let’s push forward. We see everything on the front page connected to all sorts of stuff outwith football, and we just want to be back and playing football.”
The bond between chairman and manager will be crucial to that process, says Durrant: “The gaffer and the manager have had a relationship over the years and it’s a great buffer for the manager that he now has somebody on the board that he can talk to. It will be 24-7 now for the old gaffer now that he’s the chairman, it will take a lot of responsibility but he will do a great job.”
Last summer saw Rangers in post-administration turmoil, but this year’s preparations will be much more organised, according to Durrant. He said: “It was a shambles last year in terms of pre-season but now this time everything is organised – though we still don’t know what league we are playing in, and in terms of fixtures we’ll find that out this month. We’ve organised pre-season but it’s about getting players in, getting them bedded in, getting games, which was something we couldn’t do last year. It’s important, and though I’m not making excuses, a lack of continuity was a big part of the way we played last year. It was a total mis-match, like trying to put a jigsaw together with eight or nine pieces missing. We’ll hold our hands up now and say that the football at times wasn’t pretty but we set out our stall to win the Third Division.
“We’ve got a better calibre of player this year. When we turned up last year we had
players refusing to train and play because of the contract situation in case they got injured. They then left the club which left us with six or seven players plus the young boys.
“There was the added pressure of bringing in the young players who had to play in front of 40,000 very week which put a lot of pressure on them. Some handled it a lot better than
others. This year everything is going to be sorted and hopefully we’ll get a few more additions before pre-season.”
The key question is how many players will McCoist be able to pick from: “We are trying to get a squad of 20 and we have a squad of 14 or 15 now, even with the young boys. The more players we can get in and the quicker we get up the leagues, the better.”
Another player could be signed within the next 24 hours. “Steven Smith has been talked about but that will be down to the manager,” said Durrant. “If we have a chance of getting him it would be a great addition.”
The coach is also delighted at the acquisition of Nicky Clark, Scotland’s top-scorer last season with 41 goals in all competitions for Queen of the South, who has returned to the club where he started his career. “I know Nicky from when he was a young boy,” said Durrant. “He’s got a second chance and I am sure he is going to make the most of it. He was here as a young boy, but he’s grown into a man and he will be a great addition to the club”