Marr hits out over fee for Caniggia

Dundee last night confirmed a fee had been agreed with Rangers for Dens Park striker Claudio Caniggia, although chief executive Peter Marr admitted the sum did not represent what the player is worth.

While Marr would not reveal the exact fee required to prise Caniggia from Tayside, it is thought to be as much as 400,000 below the 1million figure Dundee had hoped for.

"Unfortunately, Rangers and Celtic will never pay the money players are worth," he said. "They have the market to themselves here, and can snap up players such as Claudio before they enter the open market." Marr also hit back at Rangers chairman David Murray, who has suggested that Dundee deliberately held up the transfer negotiations. Marr blamed Rangers for the delay, citing the Ibrox club’s lack of challenge in the SPL championship race as the reason for their dilatory wooing of Caniggia.

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"If Rangers had been challenging Celtic he would have gone there earlier, but when it became clear they were not going to win the title, they waited. David Murray is a canny man, and did not want to pay four months’ worth of extra wages when he did not have to."

An official statement from Dundee praised Caniggia, who scored eight goals in 25 appearances, for his "outstanding contribution to the team", and for helping raise the club’s profile to "new heights".

Caniggia reciprocated with his own message of thanks to Dundee, who offered the player a stage upon which to show his worth, after a spell with Atalanta in Italy’s Serie B.

"I am grateful to Dundee for giving me the chance to re-establish myself and I enjoyed my time at Dundee, where the fans were great. I am now looking forward to playing with a big club like Rangers and working with Dick Advocaat."

This will not happen until the start of pre-season training at Ibrox at the end of next month. Caniggia flew back to South America yesterday on holiday, and will not be fully registered as a Rangers player until late June. Rangers will hope he returns to Scotland the same lithe player that blossomed again at Dens Park. Manager Dick Advocaat, who has hitherto remained less than forthcoming about Caniggia, said: "Claudio has tremendous experience at the highest level, and has shown, both against Rangers and other clubs this season, that he is still very sharp."

Marr called Caniggia a "wee bonus" for Dundee, at a time when a replacement for the injured striker Fabian Cabellero was needed. His subsequent departure, after only seven months, is simply part of a philosophy borrowed from innovative Spanish side Real Mallorca, Marr’s local side in Spain, where he lives. "They have made a profit of 44.5 million over the last four years from the sale of players," he said yesterday. "We will never match that, for they can sell players on to clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Deportivo La Coruna, and the French market is also nearby. But we don’t need the type of money they need."

Marr said Mark Robertson, who made his full league debut on Sunday in the victory over Celtic at Parkhead, was a ready-made replacement for Gavin Rae, with the recently capped Scotland international the most valuable asset at Dens Park now Caniggia has departed. "He is in the same sort of mould as Gavin," said Marr. "If you lose one, you have another one ready to step into his shoes."

Meanwhile, Rangers winger Andrei Kanchelskis has indicated a willingness to remain at Ibrox, having returned to Glasgow from a three-month loan spell at Manchester City. The 32-year-old has, however, said he must be offered first-team football if his career at Rangers is not to end prematurely.

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"I am ready to play for Rangers if needed, that’s always been the case," he said. "After the Hibs game, this season is over so I will go on holiday after that and return for a good pre-season. I have to say though that if things don’t change and I continue not to be included in the squad then naturally I will have to consider my future."

Turkish international Tugay is another Ibrox player doing likewise, after reports of Blackburn Rovers having again moved for the player. "A deal may happen in the summer," said Ibrox chairman David Murray. "There has not been an offer from them yet but it is no secret that a number of players will have to move on at the end of the season."

Rangers are set to move into South African football after Ibrox director Dave King’s recent purchase of Amazulu FC. King has approached Rangers for guidance in developing the Durban-based side. Ibrox commercial manager Martin Bain has visited the club, and said: "Rangers aims to provide Amazulu with some advice on coaching structures and future commercial development, and perhaps develop a working relationship for the future."