Barry Ferguson “worried” about Rangers’ transfer policy

Former Rangers and Scotland captain Barry Ferguson helps to promote this years Tesco Bank Football Challenge programme. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
Former Rangers and Scotland captain Barry Ferguson helps to promote this years Tesco Bank Football Challenge programme. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
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Barry Ferguson played with notable success under Dick Advocaat, Walter Smith and Alex McLeish and he cannot imagine those managers being willing to accept new signings being foisted upon them.

While Ferguson welcomes the prospect of former team-mate Allan McGregor and Burnley midfielder Scott Arfield joining the club this summer, he struggles to name a top-drawer candidate for the Ibrox post – which 
Graeme Murty is expected to leave at the end of the season – who would accept that arrangement.

McGregor, 36, whose contract with Hull City expires at the end of the current campaign, and Arfield, 29, have reportedly been made offers to join the Glasgow club by their director of football, Mark Allen. But Ferguson worries that unless Murty’s successor is currently playing a part in choosing transfer targets, it will not end well for them.

“I find it strange and it worries me that we’re going for Allan and Scott but we don’t have a manager in place,” he said. “It doesn’t look like Graeme is going to get the job so I’d like to think they’re maybe speaking to them and letting them know.

“For me, the manager has to sign the players; I don’t understand a director of football signing them. The manager is the main guy and picks the team on a Saturday, not the director of football.

“The manager should identify signing targets and ask the director of football to go and get them. It’s a strange set-up and I believe a high percentage of managers wouldn’t come in under those circumstances – they would want to decide who is being signed because, ultimately, it falls on them on a Saturday afternoon.

“I’d like to think they’ve got someone in mind whom they are mentioning these players to because the two who have been reported are 
certainly good enough to play for Rangers.

“When I’ve spoken to managers while doing my coaching badges or visiting clubs, the way they like to operate is that they identify players and the director of football then goes and gets them.

“Maybe Mark Allen is speaking to a manager and I would hope he is because decisions also have to be made on loan players such as Jamie Murphy, who I think Rangers should sign.”

Ferguson has a high regard for Arfield as an opponent but, after starring alongside McGregor for club and country, he can think of no better signing Rangers could make this summer.

“I’ve seen a few of his matches on TV and obviously saw the Scotland game over in Hungary,” he said. “I was told maybe a week ago that there was a chance of him going back 
and I think it’s what Rangers need and not just as a goalkeeper, although I think he’s different class.

“He’s probably the best 
keeper I’ve played with – and I’ve played with some top ones like The Goalie [Andy Goram], 
Stefan Klos, Joe Hart, Ben 
Foster, Brad Friedel, and for me he is up there with the best.

“He’s also a strong character, and that’s what that 
place needs. He knows the demands and the pressures that go with it.

“I think there’s a lot of good players at Rangers but my worry is, can they handle the pressures and the demands placed upon them?”

Ferguson insists that 
McGregor is the kind of driven 
individual Rangers are crying out for to galvanise the squad. “He was an absolute loony-bin but he had everything,” said Ferguson. “When it came in that goalkeepers had to be able to play, I noticed that – at a very young age – he wanted to join in the boxes and the 
possession drills and he always fancied himself as an outfield player; he just couldn’t run.

“Rangers have a good goalkeeper as it is but, for me, you look at the type of character [McGregor] is. He’ll go in that dressing room and he will demand from guys, and he will make sure he gets the best out of them.”

l Barry Ferguson was speaking at the Tesco Bank Football Challenge Festival at Knoxland Primary School, Dumbarton. Over 140,000 children have 
taken part in the grassroots schools programme.